Wrist, hand injuries can hurt your body, your game on the golf course

Mayo Clinic offers golfers advice so aches and pains don't have them hanging up the clubs instead of golfing on the weekends

Published On: Jun 28 2012 10:53:18 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 29 2012 08:49:39 AM EDT

Golfers can experience hand and wrist injuries, common problems that can be avoided before they quickly ruin a day on the golf course.

Rick Turner said he golfs four to five times a week and walks all 18 holes. He said it has been years since an injury kept him off the course.

"You hit a rock or a root that's underneath the grass that you don't see. Either that or it's just a bad swing and you dig in," said Rick Turner.

Turner said he focuses on good form and staying conditioned to keep from getting injured on the golf course.

Dr. Sanj Kakar, a hand specialist in the Mayo Clinic's Department of Orthopedic surgery said wrist and hand pain are fairly common, affecting about 10 per cent of amateurs and 20 percent of professionals.

"If you haven't hit a golf ball for six months and suddenly you go out and start hitting 200 balls, then you are going to suffer the next morning," said Dr. Kakar.

Kakar, who also enjoys to golf, said the three main causes for golf injuries are overuse, poor mechanics, and trauma which can often result in strained tendons or even fractures.

Anyone who feels bothersome pain and stiffness after golfing should start by resting the achy joint.

"Ice is good, especially in the acute stages, to take away the swelling. and then once that's settled down, after the first few days, heat works well just to sort of make that area less stiff," said Dr. Kakar.

Stretching ahead of a golf time is also a good idea and professional lessons could help establish solid mechanics for the game.

It is time to seek medical attention when someone has continuing pain that doesn't go away or hears a pop in the hand or wrist followed by sudden swelling or severe pain. Those could be symptoms of a serious bone fracture, ligament or tendon injury.

Dr. Kakar also said some advances in modern technology can make a noticeable difference. For example, having graphite shafts, having cavity-backed clubs to take out the vibration of impact. Also, having a fatter grip may help golfers not squeeze the club too tight and, hence, alleviate any joint pains.

For more information from the Mayo Clinic on golf injuries, click here.