As the golfers out there surely know, the sport of golf requires not only skill and perseverance but also lots of time, effort and practice in order to become skilled. Unfortunately, because this sport requires lots of practice and also consists of mainly repetitive motions, golfers are prone to a number of injuries. Whether you golf professionally, casually or somewhere in-between, you are at risk for one of these common golf injuries.

1. Golfer’s Elbow

What’s the danger?

We’ve talked a little bit about golfer’s elbow in the past in our Tennis Elbow vs. Golf Elbow: What’s the Difference? blog post but, based on the name alone it should be no surprise that golfer’s elbow is one of the most common golfing injuries. Golfer’s elbow is an inflammation of the tendons of the forearm at the point where they insert into the Humerus and bone on the inner side of the elbow. This inflammation is caused by forceful gripping activities such as gripping a golf club.

Prevening golfer’s elbow

As mentioned above, this injury can be caused by gripping your golf club too hard. Stretching your wrist muscles prior to activity using “limp-wrist” and “police halting traffic” type stretches will help prevent this type of injury.

If you are prone to Golfer’s elbow or have already dealt with that injury, you may want to consider wearing a golfer’s Elbow Compression Strap. These help prevent the wrist extensor muscles from contracting fully, thus reducing the strain on the tendons at the elbow.

2. Hip Strain

What’s the danger?

Your hip joint is one of the most active joints in your body. It moves in many different ways and is designed to withstand large amounts of stress. However, since a golf swing involves a large amount of pivoting and twisting, the hips are particularly vulnerable to injury in this sport. The repeated abduction and flexion/extension of the hip while golfing can often lead to injuries including groin strain and lower back injuries.

Preventing hip strain

As with most muscles, the best way to prevent strain to your hip muscles is to properly warm them up every time before you start a round of golf. Engage in some dynamic stretching of the hip flexors prior to every round of golf or session at the driving range. Check out these great stretches from The Golf Channel.

Adding flexibility and strength to the muscles surrounding the hip joint and socket will also help the muscles become stronger and more prepared for repeated stress during your swing. Exercises targeting the muscles surrounding your hip joints such as dynamic twists and spinal rotation exercises will help increase strength and flexibility. Static stretching after every round will help increase flexibility and encourage continued muscle recovery.

3. Rotator Cuff Injuries

What’s the danger?

Your rotator cuff is made up of four stabilizing muscles located in each of your shoulders. Injuries to the rotator cuff can be sustained through traumatic force resulting from a poorly executed swing, hitting something, taking a deep divot, or merely from overuse. Golfers are at risk of tendinitis, bursitis, and tears in the rotator cuff due to the repetitive motion of the golf swing.

Preventing rotator cuff injuries

The best way to prevent injury to your rotator cuff is by practicing correct form. If you feel any pain in your shoulder or your swing feels wrong in any way, it might be time to talk to a golf swing trainer to correct your swing.

4. Wrist Tendinitis

What’s the danger?

As with many of the injuries on this list, wrist injuries in golf are usually the cause of repetitive motion. This in addition to the high speed of your swing puts your wrists at high risk for injury. Tendinitis (or swelling of the tendons responsible for wrist injury) is the most common wrist injury for golfers.

Preventing wrist tendinitis

The best way to prevent wrist injury is to engage in a year-round golf-specific conditioning program. These types of programs will precondition your wrist for the stress and movement it will incur during the season. The addition of exercises specific to hand, wrist and forearm strength can help you condition your wrists in the offseason.

5. Knee Strain

What’s the danger?

As you stabilize the rotation of the hip joint at the beginning of the swing, your knees incur a lot of stress. Extreme force placed on the knee (especially if your knees are already weakened from age, arthritis or past injury) can result in knee swelling, pulled muscles or ligament, or even torn ligaments.

Preventing knee strain

Your knees depend on the strength of the muscles surrounding them including your calves, hamstrings, thighs and even your core muscles. Warming up those muscles with dynamic stretching will help minimize stress to your knees. You can also engage in some cross-training (link to cross-training blog) to strengthen those muscles.

Wearing quality shoes with good arch support will reduce the impact of walking and a brace will help stabilize the knee if you feel any weakness or have sustained injury in the past.

6. Lower Back Strain

What’s the danger?

An estimated 75-85 percent of all Americans will experience back pain in their lives. That number is actually higher in golfers. Repeated rotational stress of a golf swing can put considerable pressure and stress on the spine and back muscles. When you consider that in addition to the fact that golfers spend four to five hours in a bent stance, repeating the same motion over and over, it’s no surprise that golfers are at higher risk for back pain than other groups.

Preventing lower back strain

As with hip strain and knee pain, ensuring your back muscles are properly warmed up prior to every round of golf will go a long way towards minimizing your risk of injury.

In addition, strengthening your back muscles using core strength and stability exercises can correct poor posture and help effectively prevent back pain.

7. Sunburn

What’s the danger?

Ok, so maybe you’re thinking, “sunburn isn’t an injury!” but just hear us out. Your skin is the largest organ of your body with a total area of about 20 square feet. Your skin is also the area of your body most vulnerable to damage when golfing. Repeated, unprotected exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays can lead to skin damage or even melanoma. Because golfers spend 4-5 hours per game exposed to the sun, they are likely to sustain damage to the skin.

Preventing sunburn

Sunburn prevention isn’t new; it’s exactly what your mother used to tell you as a kid. Put on sunblock before you leave the house and reapply. When choosing sunscreen, always choose something with an SPF of 15 or higher (higher tends to be better if you have sensitive skin or are predisposed to sunburn), and reapply often during your round. Wear a hat, sunglasses and protective clothing to increase your overall sun protection.


In addition to the prevention tactics listed above, engaging in proper muscle recovery will help you minimize the overall risk of injury, There are a number of things you can do to help your muscles properly recover. Download our FREE Day-to-Day Muscle Recovery Checklist to learn more!


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