Common Golf Injuries and How Physical Therapy Can Help

Golf, often perceived as a low-impact sport, can lead to various injuries due to the repetitive nature of the golf swing and the physical demands of the game. Understanding these injuries and knowing how physical therapy can assist in their recovery is important for both amateur and professional golfers. Here are some common golf injuries and how physical therapy can help treat them.

Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)

Golfer’s elbow is characterized by pain and inflammation on the inside of the elbow, caused by repetitive wrist flexion and forearm rotation during the golf swing. Symptoms include:

  • Pain and tenderness on the inner side of the elbow
  • Stiffness in the elbow
  • Weakness in the hands and wrists

Physical Therapy Treatment for Medial Epicondyltis

When you see a physical therapist for golfer’s elbow, you will likely undergo a combination of strengthening exercises, stretching, and manual therapy. The focus will be on the forearm, wrist, and hand muscles to improve strength and reduce strain on the elbow. You will also be given gentle stretches to improve flexibility and reduce tension in the forearm muscles. Techniques such as massage and mobilization may be used to reduce pain and improve blood flow. Additionally, you will receive education on modifying swing techniques to prevent further injury.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff comprises four muscles that stabilize the shoulder. Injuries can occur due to overuse, poor swing mechanics, or sudden, forceful movements. Symptoms include:

  • Pain and weakness in the shoulder
  • Difficulty lifting the arm
  • Limited range of motion

Physical Therapy Treatment for Shoulder Injuries

When you see a physical therapist for shoulder injuries, you will likely undergo a combination of strengthening exercises, range of motion exercises, postural training, and functional training. The focus will be on the rotator cuff muscles to improve stability and strength. You will also perform exercises to restore normal shoulder movement and improve posture, reducing strain on the shoulder during swings. Additionally, functional training will simulate golf-specific movements to ensure a safe return to the sport.

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is common among golfers due to the rotational stresses placed on the spine during a golf swing. Symptoms of lower back pain:

  • Persistent pain in the lower back
  • Stiffness and reduced flexibility
  • Pain that radiates to the legs in severe cases

Physical Therapy Treatment for Lower Back Pain

When you visit a physical therapist for lower back pain, you will likely engage in a mix of core strengthening, flexibility exercises, manual therapy, and swing mechanics analysis. The aim will be to strengthen your core muscles, which support your spine. You will also work on flexibility exercises to enhance mobility in your hips, hamstrings, and lower back. Manual therapy techniques will help alleviate pain and improve spinal alignment. Additionally, your swing mechanics will be evaluated and adjusted to reduce stress on your lower back.

Knee Pain 

Knee pain in golfers can result from repetitive strain, poor stance, or underlying conditions like arthritis. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain around the knee joint
  • Swelling and stiffness
  • Difficulty bearing weight on the affected knee

Physical Therapy Treatment for Knee Pain

When you see a physical therapist for knee pain, you will likely follow a regimen that includes strengthening exercises, balance training, joint mobilization, and a biomechanical assessment. The strengthening exercises will target your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles to better support your knee. Balance training will aim to improve stability and reduce the risk of falls. Joint mobilization techniques will be used to enhance knee joint movement. Additionally, a biomechanical assessment will help identify and correct any faulty movement patterns contributing to your knee pain.

Wrist Injuries

Wrist injuries, such as tendinitis or sprains, can occur due to the repetitive motion and impact forces involved in golf swings. If you have a wrist injury you may experience:

  • Pain and swelling in the wrist
  • Limited range of motion
  • Weakness in grip strength

Physical Therapy Treatment for Wrist Pain

Treatment for wrist pain typically includes strengthening exercises, stretching, splinting, and activity modification. Strengthening exercises will target the wrist and forearm muscles to improve strength and endurance. Stretching is employed to enhance flexibility and reduce tension in the wrist. Splinting can be used to support the wrist, allowing it to heal while maintaining function. Additionally, activity modification involves adjusting grip and swing techniques to prevent further injury.

Golf injuries, while common, can be effectively managed and prevented with the right physical therapy interventions. At Lifeline Physical Therapy, we specialize in helping golfers recover from injuries and improve their performance on the green through personalized treatment plans. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort related to golf, contact us at 412-646-1959 or fill out this form to book an initial evaluation and get back to enjoying the game you love.


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