Looking to improve your game on the green? Form is as important as power or distance when it comes to protecting your joints. Although considered a “low impact” sport, golf injuries are common. Taking precautions as you practice and play can pay off; you’ll have fewer injuries and more fun hours outdoors in lovely fall weather.
Most golfing-related injuries are a result of poor mechanics during play, or overuse injuries due to repetitive motion. Many golfers end up with back and/or hip injuries, while others suffer from pain in their elbow, wrist and hand, or shoulder.
These tips can help you avoid injury and stay in shape on the course.
Start with the basics
- Warm up before playing. Stretching is a must to allow muscles and tendons to flex and loosen. Playing “cold” can cause more damage than anything to joints and tendons, resulting in being sidelines from the game for weeks or months.
- Consider your club carrying technique. Many senior golfers end up injured from the way they carry their clubs, not from play itself! Use your knees to lift as you pick up your bag, and use a cart to avoid lugging your clubs from hole to hole.
- Cross train for strength and flexibility. You can strengthen your assisting muscle groups and core by doing aerobic exercises or bicycling. You might be amazed at how your endurance improved.
Adjust your swing mechanics
The golf swing is deeply personal to every golfer, as they fine tune their technique based on their unique physiology. The complex coordinating required can lead to being off balance, and stressing your muscles, tendons and joints over and over.
- Use proper posture. Hunching instead of standing up straight can lead to twisting your back instead of swiveling your hips as you swing, and contributing to neck strain. Keep your feet at shoulder width stance and your knees slightly bent.
- Strive for smoothness. Your power depends on the smooth transfer of force from your ankles to your wrists. Depending on one body part to heavily can lead to injury like golfer’s elbow.
- Keep a consistent tempo. Swinging too hard or too fast doesn’t equate to a better game, but can cause serious damage to joints. Steady and sure golf play makes for a winning game.
By following these tips, your golf game can get better and you can protect yourself from injury during your years as a senior golfer. If you do find you have pain after a game, ask Dr. Strasburger for an opinion. He can diagnose joint and tendon issues and recommend treatment to keep you at your best.