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Injuries in Golf

Injury and illness Surveillance

As with all sports the key to accurate and reliable epidemiological studies hinges on consistency in methods and definitions used in studies. In 2020 the IOC called for sport specific guidelines for this purpose and the recent golf consensus statement for recording injuries and illness in golf is included below.
International consensus statement: methods for recording and reporting of epidemiological data on injuries and illness in golf

Musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries in golf

Golf puts specific strain on different areas of the body and common injuries are those associated with overuse from the repetitive movements required. This systematic review highlights the commonest golf injuries to be to the lumbar spine region followed by the hand and wrist. The key findings are summarised in this video and the infographic below.

Injuries in Professional Golfers infographic

Systematic review of musculoskeletal injuries in professional golfers

The above podcast with Dr Roger Hawkes expands on many of the themes already considered but also provides a great overview of the MSK injuries seen in golfers.

We have also included several other key articles which provide an overview of common golf injuries, linking them to biomechanics and considering their management.

Back injuries in golf

The back appears the most at risk region of the body and below are some of the key papers considering the risk factors and management of back injuries.

Upper limb injuries

Upper limb injuries are common in golf with the most common injury area being the lead wrist, it is therefore critical to be able to undertake a thorough hand and wrist assessment to identify specific pathology. Mr Doug Campbell provides a great assessment of how to undertake a hand and wrist examination:

We have included some of the key papers that consider the common wrist injuries in golf and provide an explanation of the common underlying pathologies and management options.

The shoulder is another key area to understand in golf and the following papers suggest the lead shoulder to be at greater risk of injury and consider the underlying pathologies.

Lower limb injuries

Although they appear less common, lower limb injuries do still occur in golf. The study below considers the difference in hip morphology in elite golfers and suggests the prevalence of cam morphology and labral tears to be greater in the trail hip.
Hip morphology in elite golfers: asymmetry between lead and trail hips

The knee also appears to be an at risk area. The systematic review below considers the prevalence and the biomechanics of knee injuries in golf.
Risk factors for knee injury in golf: a systematic review

Golf is a sport that often, even after major surgery, you can still play. The paper below suggests most golfers are able to get back playing golf after a joint replacement and several professional golfers have had success on tour after joint replacement. One example is Fred Funk who went on to win the U.S. Senior Open after a total knee replacement in 2009.
Return to Golfing Activity After Joint Replacement

Injuries in Golf