When you think of sports you may get injured whilst playing, golf probably doesn’t come top of the list. However, there is a risk of getting hurt whilst playing this gentlemanly game with most injuries occurring to the hands.
Hand injuries in golf can range from the mild such as sprains and blisters, to the more serious such as ligament injuries and damaged blood vessels. However, what they all have in common is that they can be treated successfully so that you can continue to enjoy your favorite pastime: golf.
Following are six of the most common hand injuries you may sustain while playing golf. We have also included symptoms and how to treat these injuries should you ever be unlucky enough to suffer from them.
1. De Quervain’s Tendonitis
De Quervain’s Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon that runs down the forearm, through the wrist, and into the thumb. It usually occurs when the wrist or thumb are overactive and moved away from each other during activity.
Painful, and more common in women than men, De Quervain’s Tendonitis is usually treated by the sufferer wearing a splint for 2 to 3 weeks. Hand exercises may also prove to be useful but should only be performed on a professionals recommendation.
The following video details some of the options you have for solving this particular problem.
Blisters are probably the last thing that would spring to mind when considering possible golf hand injuries. However, they are an extremely common problem and one that can be incredibly painful. They are caused by a forceful rubbing such as a golf club against the hand and are especially prevalent when using new equipment.
Most blisters will heal on their own within about a week, and there should be no need to see a doctor. However, if you notice that the skin looks infected, the area is very painful, or green or yellow pus is present you should consult one.
Treatment is simple with a plaster or dressing over the affected area being sufficient. You should also try to avoid using equipment that has caused the blister until it heals. If you have had to consult your doctor, they may burst the blister with a sterilized needle and prescribe antibiotics for an infection.
3. Golfers Elbow
Though Golfers Elbow is not technically a hand injury it can affect this area of the body. The wrist can be painful when bending, and the grip of the person affected can be weakened. It is usually, in golf, caused by the repetitive movement of swinging or gripping a club.
A condition in which the tendons attaching your flexor muscles and medial epicondyle are damaged, Golfers Elbow can be treated in a few ways. Reducing the pain, taking medication, and an exercise program are the most common ones. Recovery from this injury should only take a few weeks.
Read more details on golfers elbow from one of our in-depth articles on the subject.
4. Sprains / Ligament Injuries
Sprains occur when the ligaments that support the wrist are stretched beyond their natural limits or tear. Usually, this is a forceful movement in which the wrist is bent or twisted. There are three grades of sprain; mild, moderate, and severe with each one requiring a different treatment.
A mild sprain is where ligaments are simply stretched. Treatment is simple with rest and a compression bandage being recommended. An ice pack can also be used to reduce swelling, pain, and bruising. However, for this to be most effective it should be done as soon after the injury as possible.
A moderate sprain is one where the ligaments are partially torn. Again rest and a compression bandage are recommended although the hospital, which you should visit, may choose to use a splint.
A severe sprain can involve the ligament being completely torn or pulled off its attachment to the bone. Again a wrist splint will be used with plenty of rest recommended. If the injury does not improve surgery may be needed to repair the ligament fully.
5. Hamate Bone Fractures
Hamate fractures happen when a golf club strikes the ground and forces the handle to bang against the bony hook. The bony hook being one of eight small bones in the wrist that together make up the carpals. The bony hook then breaks causing pain in the heel of the hand.
Although this type of fracture is rare, with only 2% of hamate fractures involving the bony hook, it is a prevalent injury sustained whilst playing golf. Symptoms will include swelling, bruising, weakness of grip, and pain.
Treatment is varied with the most common action being to use a cast to immobilize the bone. This, however, is not always reliable and surgery may be required. This will involve removing the broken hook of the hamate and will need 6 to 8 weeks for recovery.
6. Damaged Blood Vessels
Medically known as Hypothenar Hammer Syndrome this injury is commonly caused by a golf club handle repeatedly striking the palm. It involves one of the main arteries having its wall weakened causing it to enlarge and sometimes clot.
Symptoms of this injury include pain in the palm and disrupted blood flow going to the fingertips. This in turn can cause numbness in the fingers and skin color change.
Treatment is to avoid the activity that caused the blood vessels to become damaged, wear padded gloves, and stay out of the cold. Certain drugs may also help to restore the damaged blood flow. As a last resort surgery may also be offered.
Conclusion: Golfers Elbow
Golfers will always be at risk of injury from repetitive movements and from the force of hitting the ground.
Many people say golf isn’t a physical game! They are wrong we all know how tired we get after a full round of 18 holes. I know I’m always shattered after a game. But is golf a good game for exercise or is it just a strain on the body? Read our latest article on this topic and see if you can lose weight and stay fitter by playing golf.
I was unlucky enough to get golfers elbow when I first started playing golf from hitting a fat shot off an old hard golf matt at the range. I had to have two injections of steroids into my elbow over a period of 6 months. Still, today many years later it’s not as strong as it was before and I still get tingles every now and then when I hit a poor shot.
There are many things you can do to try and prevent injury like warming up, don’t overswing, avoid tree roots and get correctly fitted golf clubs.
All simple but effective ways to prevent injury. Using a golf trolley can also reduce back injuries and prevent lower back pain.
We hope you never experience any of these golf injuries and enjoy your hobby. Play well and shoot low!