Although originated in Scotland in the 15th century1, golf has been embraced by nearly 30 million Americans coast-to-coast ever since, adding roughly $70 billion a year to America’s economy. 2 It is increasingly popular and serves as a fabulous de-stressor, but did you know that there are 10 orthopedic injuries that commonly occur when golf is not played properly? Many do not.
With National Golf Day, April 18th around the corner, orthopedic surgeon to the golf pros, Alejandro Badia, MD, FACS and Founder and Chief Medical Officer of OrthoNOW®, the nation’s only network of orthopedic urgent care centers, shares his insights. Dr. Badia is a highly respected and sought out hand and upper extremity surgeon that has a strong connection with golf, having treated some of the best players in the world including renowned Peruvian PGA players Sebastian Salem and Hector Gonzalez, Sean Edey one of the top junior Caribbean players from Barbados and pro golfer Sylvia Cabieses.
With this beneficial information, golfers can be more mindful of their body position and their swing while on the green. The top 10 most common orthopedic golf injuries include:
- Golfer’s Elbow: Also referred to as “tennis elbow,” this is a condition aggravated by overuse of the arm, forearm and hand muscles that result in elbow pain. The term came into use because it can be a significant problem for some tennis players. “Golfer’s elbow” refers to the same process occurring on the inside of the elbow. Some people have an underlying tendency towards developing these conditions, which then become aggravated with overuse.
- Shoulder Dislocation/ Labral Tear: This is accompanied with intense pain and the shoulder looks out of place or locked in certain positions. It is often followed by muscle spasms, bruises, swelling, numbness and weakness. Often, your doctor can use certain maneuvers to put the bones back in their position. In some cases, however, the dislocation causes injuries to the soft tissues which require surgical treatment.
- Rotator Cuff Tear: This may be caused by an injury to the shoulder, or due to progressive degeneration or wear & tear of the tendon. Symptoms include pain and extreme stiffness when raising your arm above your head or when moving your shoulder. Too many repetitive rotations at one time can strain the ligaments and muscles in your shoulder.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This is caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist. Things that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome include: hypothyroidism, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, pregnancy, obesity, wrist injuries and bone spurs and smoking because it can reduce blood flow to the medial nerve. Patients should see an orthopedic specialist if they are experiencing tingling, weakness, or pain in the fingers or hand that keeps coming back or that has not gone away after 2 weeks of home treatment. A common misconception is that typing or texting causes carpal tunnel syndrome. Although these can certainly aggravate the symptoms, typing or texting alone does not cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Ankle Sprain: A sprained ankle is an injury that is common within activities or sports which involve a high level of jumping, pivoting and running. It’s an injury to one of the ligaments in your ankle and although ligaments are flexible, all it takes is a sudden twist for them to stretch too far or snap entirely.
- Plantar fasciitis: This is the most common cause of heel pain. It is caused by repeated strain on the plantar fascia, the ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes, supporting the arch of the foot. A strained plantar fascia causes weakness, swelling, and inflammation in one or both heels.
- ACL Tear: Knee injuries, much like ankle injuries, occur in activities involving quick turns, abrupt stops and starts, or unpredictable motions. Hearing a pop or experiencing a sharp pain in your knee after taking a hard turn may mean that the ACL was injured. An ACL tear makes it difficult to bend the knee, and people often suffer a feeling of instability when standing.
- Meniscus Tear: This is a very common knee injury among professional athletes and the elderly. The meniscus helps the knee joint carry weight, glide and turn. This is usually caused by twisting or turning too quickly when the foot is planted and the knee is bent. This injury often causes the knee to be in pain, lock, click and swell.
- Stress Fractures: These types of injuries are overuse injuries. Muscles become fatigued and they are no longer capable of reducing the shock of repeated impacts. When this happens, the muscles transmit the stress to the bones. Over time, those affected bones can no longer repair themselves organically, leading to small cracks or fractures.
- Distal Radius Fracture: Commonly known as wrist fractures, these occur when you fall on an outstretched hand. In some cases, a cast may be all that is necessary to treat these injuries, but these fractures tend to be unstable and usually require surgical treatment.
In today’s age, whether you’re a weekend warrior or a professional athlete, proper form and technique can help you take care of your body now, and build healthy habits for the future. There is a new technology that until recently was only used by elite athletes but is now available to the public at OrthoNOW® called ARPwave Neuro Therapy, which dramatically alleviates acute and chronic pain and expedites recovery from surgery.
ARPwave is a system comprised of a proprietary electrical device with carefully designed protocols which target injury at the source and has been use to prevent injury and to condition and prep the body to endure the physical commitment that’s required of the activity being experienced by the patient. The technology can help improve your game by improving range of motion and it has been proven to relax and lengthen skeletal muscle fibers, thus playing a huge role in maximizing recovery after extreme workouts and supporting the rigors of competitions.
When combined with OrthoNOW®’s specialized approach to treating chronic and acute pain, sprains, strains, fractures including sports related and occupational injuries, patients receive an end-to-end treatment that ensures they are treated and cared for correctly.