Golf and tennis injuries are on the rise as more people participate in these summer sports.
Fore! Ace! Love! Birdie! Ouch!
Golf and tennis injuries are on the rise as more people participate in these summer sports. In fact, according to a study done over a two-year period by the American Orthopedic Society for the journal Sports Medicine, 40 percent of amateur golfers either suffered traumatic or overuse injuries while enjoying a few rounds. Tennis players don’t fare much better. Medical facilities treat more than 78,000 tennis-related injuries each year.
For golfers, low back pain is the most common injury, followed by elbow and shoulder complaints. A golf swing is a complex set of movements that can take their toll if repeated too often or not performed properly. Powerful rotation and extension of both the low back and the upper extremities can stress muscles and strain tendons, both of which can be quite painful and cause weeks of recovery away from a favorite pastime.
The game of tennis is fraught with overuse injuries due to stress on the muscles, joints and soft tissues when proper time for healing isn’t allowed. Injuries start as a nagging aches or pains, which, if ignored, can blossom into debilitating injuries. The most common injuries suffered on the court are tendonitis and bursitis of the joints in the arms and shoulders, including the infamous “tennis elbow,” and lower extremity muscle, ligament and tendon strains, sprains, and tears.
One of the factors that make tennis a more injury-prone sport than golf is the constant stopping, starting, and changing directions at a quick pace. This can put tremendous stress on the joints, which are susceptible to soft tissue tears and sprains, muscle tears or serious pulls and even set the athlete up for arthritis on down the line.
That all sounds pretty discouraging, doesn’t it? Well, there are things you can do to keep your risk of injury to a minimum. Both tennis players and golfers should always perform a proper warm-up before play. In a study that looked at golfers, it was found that those who did a proper pre-round warm up had less than half the incidence of injuries than those who did not.
For either sport, begin your warm-up with mild movement of the muscles, either walking or jogging in place with arms swinging for at least five minutes. Then a series of stretches specific to the sport can be done, holding each for 30 seconds. This may take 10-15 minutes. Consider it time well spent, because an injury can take you away from the court or course for much longer than the time you spend warming up all season.
I can’t resist one other suggestion for golfers. If you must use a cart, why not take turns driving the clubs from one tee to the next while the other players walk? That way, you can get some exercise between holes. Yes, it will take longer to get your 9 or 18 holes in, but do you really want to rush home to clean the garage anyway?
Page 2 of 2 - Pam Maxson is a health educator at Noyes Hospital in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 585-335-4327.