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Play it safe on the golf course

Wed, May 16, 2018

Spring is here and summer is right around the corner, which means golf season is in full swing.

 

Golf is often seen as a low-impact sport with a low risk for injury. That’s not always the case.

 

“Repeated movements of the same muscles, tendons, or joints can cause stress, or even injuries to golfers,” says Dr. Shawn Hennigan, a surgeon with Orthopedics & Sports Medicine BayCare Clinic.

 

Common injuries include ankle, elbow, spine, knee, hip, and wrist injuries, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

 

These injuries are often caused by overuse and poor form, according to the AAOS. Left untreated, the injuries can result in long-term musculoskeletal damage, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis.

 

“If you golf throughout the summer, but aren’t physically active the rest of the year, you’re more likely to have some type of injury,” Hennigan says. “People might be out of shape, aren’t swinging properly, or aren’t taking the time to warm up.”

 

To prevent injuries, golfers should:

  • Warm up before playing a round. It’ll get your blood flowing and prepare your body for physical activity. Stretch, take some practice swings and hit a few balls on the driving range.
  • Use proper posture. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your knees slightly bent. Most movement should come from your hips when swinging. Keep your back straight because hunching over the ball can cause back and neck strain.
  • Be cautious if carrying your own clubs. Golfers are at a higher risk for shoulder and back injuries by carrying clubs. Keep your back straight and use your legs when lifting your clubs.
  • Try to avoid hitting things other than the ball, like the ground. That can cause elbow and wrist injuries.
  • Wear golf shoes. Avoid long cleats because they’ll keep your feet planted as you swing, which can cause strain on your knees or ankles.
  • Exercise regularly. Focus on exercises that help strengthen your lower back, hamstrings, hips, core, and glutes.

 “Start slow, build endurance and don’t overdo it,” Hennigan says. “If you feel pain, stop what you’re doing. If the pain continues, get it checked out immediately. What may feel or look like a small injury can develop into bigger health concerns.”

 

Dr. Shawn Hennigan is an orthopedic surgeon with BayCare Clinic. He sees patients in Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay and Marinette.

 

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About BayCare Clinic

BayCare Clinic, baycare.net, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in Northeast Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. With its 100-plus physicians, BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, serving clinical locations in 13 regional communities. Based in Green Bay, Wis., BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center.

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