For those who love golf, there is never really an off-season. We find time to hit the links whenever we can. We might travel to other cities or states when local weather doesn't afford us that opportunity. Or we may do so just to spice up our game. Whatever happens, a golfer never expects an injury. Rarely is there planning that revolves around that potential risk because it is so far from the mind when the greens come calling.
Injuries do happen in golf, and not just to the pros. Most often, they relate to the repetitive motions players use. Repetition in the muscles and joints of the upper body may affect the shoulder, in particular. Inflammation in the shoulder causes stiffness. These symptoms may be felt after a good game or, in some cases while swinging a club. Regardless of when symptoms like pain and stiffness occur, they should be listened to and examined by a doctor if they do not go away with rest.
Common Shoulder Components that May Sustain Injury
- Cartilage, the flexible connective tissue that lines the various parts of the shoulder joint. Cartilage provides a buffer against stress and keeps the bones of the joint from rubbing. Cartilage injury in the joint is referred to as a labral tear. This injury that usually occurs in the back of the shoulder relates to the backswing.
- Rotator cuff injuries can be acute or chronic. The rotator cuff is the matrix of four tendons and muscles that stabilize the joint. Overuse of the shoulder is often the cause of wear and tear on the rotator cuff.
- When a primary shoulder injury has occurred, some people also develop pain or soreness in the scapula, or shoulder blade. This should resolve once the original shoulder problem is corrected.
Awareness, Practice, Prevention
To prevent a shoulder injury and still enjoy an active golf hobby, it is first necessary to be aware of the injuries that could occur. Awareness promotes practice, and good golf practices increase the chances of prevention significantly. Remember to:
- Learn and use good form and swinging technique. If soreness is common after a round of golf, this is a clue that form could use some work. A few golf-swing lessons may be beneficial.
- Use the right equipment. Clubs are everything to form and to the game as a whole. Clubs should accommodate weight, height, and arm-reach.
- Train the muscles. In addition to strengthening the back and shoulder muscles, golfers benefit from having a strong core. A few crunches a day can keep pain away.