Dr. Dalzell Explains Treatment and Prevention of the “Most Common Golf Injuries”


Frederick G. Dalzell, MD
Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon

Fractured ribs, herniated discs, injured wrist and knees, we’re not talking the Eagles injury report, but rather some of the injuries suffered on the PGA tour! Hard to believe that what’s been described as “a good walk spoiled” and debated by others as not even being a sport could result in this litany of injuries.

So what are the most common problems suffered by the weekend golfer and how can you treat and prevent them?

It’s been estimated that 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some time in their life. That number becomes even higher when you enjoy golf as an activity. With the average golfer generating torque and swing speeds of 80 to 90 miles an hour and pros well over 110 it is not surprising that the raid generation and sudden stop put significant stress on the lumbar spine. Pre and in-season stretching and core strengthening can be good preventatives. Rest, anti-inflammatories (like Motrin or Aleve) stretching, deep tissue massage and bracing all may be helpful early on. If not responding after a week you may need to see your health care professional.

Tennis elbow (outside of the elbow) and golfer’s elbow (medial elbow) are also the bane of the duffer and pro golfer alike. Over use, hitting off mats, too stiff a shaft and improper grip size can lead to these problems.  Stretching, tennis elbow straps, ice, anti inflammatories and injections all have a place in treatment. Sometimes a switch to graphite or a more flexible shaft may be beneficial and could be a reason to consult a golf professional.

Most wrist pain related to golf comes from tendonitis and over use. Taking time off (sorry fellow golfers), ice and anti-inflammatories will cure most cases. If the pain follows striking a root or another object, results in joint swelling or lasts more than a week after treatment than a more serious injury (fracture or ligament tear) is a possibility and a trip to the doctor is more advisable.

The stiff lead leg is exposed to high stress during weight shift, and while not as common as some of these other problems these injuries often involve ligaments  or meniscus and may need medical attention earlier. Those with arthritis also may see flares during golf season. Bracing and an evaluation of your swing by your golf pro may help.

Those beautiful summer days we live for can also produce some of the biggest dangers to a golfer. Frequent sunburns are painful, but long term risks for skin cancers are the real danger. Hats and proper sunscreen should be as much a part of your game as your golf glove during summer days. Hydration is key during these recent hot waves and muscle cramping, rapid heart rate or confusion are all signs that something more serious like heat stroke may be coming into play an you may need to leave the course.

In summary, taking part in stretching and strengthening programs, warming up, using good technique and using proper sun protection will keep you in the game and may even lower your score. Hopefully, this information will also allow you to know when it’s time to see your health care and golf professionals.  Most of all it will allow us to better enjoy the game we love!

Dr. Dalzell is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon with Shore Orthopaedic University Associates. He specializes in; Orthopaedic Surgery, Minimally Invasive Total Joint Replacement, Arthroscopic Surgery, and Sports Medicine.

The Board-Certified physicians at Shore Orthopaedic University Associates are trained in the practice of general orthopaedics; additionally each of our doctors has devoted additional training and surgical expertise in orthopaedic sub-specialties. The surgeons at Shore Orthopaedic University Associates are experts in diagnosing musculoskeletal disorders, identifying and treating injuries, providing rehabilitation to an affected area and establishing a prevention protocol to inhibit further damage to a diseased area or component of the musculoskeletal system.

Shore Orthopaedic University Associates is dedicated to caring for the patient and treating their orthopaedic problems non-operatively whenever possible. Additional treatment options for patients may include medication for pain or inflammation or therapy, such as stretching and strengthening exercises.

To Schedule A One-On-One Consultation
Contact us at: (609) 927-1991
Request an appointment online: SHOREORTHODOCS.COM
Somers Point • Galloway • Cape May Court House

*This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice.

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