By Stefan Angelucci, Chiropractor

If you’re living in Victoria, we understand the lockdowns may have been tough, but the good news is now we can get back to the community sports we love, one of those being GOLF!  And no, this blog doesn’t just apply to all the Dads out there who think they are Tiger Woods on the golf course, this applies to everyone who loves to play the game.

We love to keep people happy, healthy, pain free and active so in this post we are going to go through some of the common injuries that affect the amateur golfer, explore how and why these happen and how you can go about preventing these from affecting you so that you are ready for the fairway!

Common Injuries

Some of you might be asking “How can you get injured playing golf, isn’t it non-contact?”.  Although it’s non-contact, golf is one of the most common sports to have an injury in. This can be attributed to many factors like the sport’s accessibility for all ages and skill levels and the movement patterns involved: unless you’re using a semi-ambidextrous style like Mark Wahlberg, golf is a very one-sided sport and the movement tends to be ballistic. These factors make golfers more susceptible to injuries.

The most common injuries amongst amateur and professional golfers are as follows:

  1. Low back (Lumbar spine) injuries
  2. Wrist and hand injuries
  3. Neck (Cervical spine) injuries

Lumbar and Cervical Spine Injuries

The lower back and neck are the two most injured areas of the body while playing golf.  There are many reasons why this happens:

  1. Both regions have multiple pain- and load-sensitive structures meaning lots of things can be irritated
  2. The way in which you swing a golf club, and the repetitiveness of the swing can lead to issues
  3. Poor core conditioning and pre activation means your body may not be properly prepared for activity

The above factors predispose us to an increased likelihood of injury. The anatomy of the spine is complex, consisting of muscle, ligament, tendon, disc and nerve fibres. These structures, when put into a compromised position, can be easily irritated. We see this consistently happening when patients present in the clinic after playing golf.

The repetitive nature of the golf swing sometimes allows for micro-trauma to occur.  The better your technique, the less you strain your body.  So, if your form on a golf swing is poor you may be inflicting micro-traumas on the sensitive structures (discs and joints) in your low back and neck.  Another reason why pain and irritation may happen is because the body is not ready for these movements in terms of warming up (activating) the body before play.  Amateur golfers often lack conditioning in the core musculature to help minimise the risk of injury. Pre-activation is essential in every sport and consists of doing targeted exercises before play to ensure the body is warmed up and ready to perform sport-specific movements.

Injuries of the Wrist and Hand

The other areas that are often injured in professional and amateur golfers are the wrist and hand. Common injuries that occur are:

  • Wrist and hand ligament sprains
  • Tendonitis
  • Bone fractures
  • Blood vessel injuries

These injuries are commonly caused by poor technique, overuse, or a direct blow to the club face (striking a tree or root). The injuries listed above are quite common in professionals and amateurs due to the complex movement of a golf swing, where multiple joints need to work together to execute the action properly. Gripping and not locking in the elbows tight enough may result in increased impact and injury to the elbow and wrist joints. Improper grip can cause injuries in the wrist and hand such as sprains and even superficial injuries to the skin. These joints, if not conditioned enough, are structurally weaker and may not be able to handle the forces of playing golf.

What you can do

Whether you are a part time golfer or a pro, there are some simple strategies you can implement to prevent these injuries affecting you. Below is a list and explanation of some activities that you can undertake to minimise your risk of injury from playing golf:

  • Swing technique: This could be one of the easiest strategies to minimise injury but would be neglected by most: simple good technique = decreased risk of injury. Optimal technique results in the body using and distributing load/force to the proper areas. For example, most of the power from a golf swing should be generated from the legs and core rather than the upper limbs and torso.
  • Pre-activation & conditioning: Sports-specific pre-activation (exercises before you play) can prepare the body for activity.  This is important in the brain-body connection to allow the musculoskeletal system to adapt and be ready for certain activities. For golf, pre-activation exercises should target the core (Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Gluteal, Abdominals and Obliques), the shoulders and the neck.
  • Regular Physical Therapy: If you are consistently playing golf, it is wise to look after your muscles and joints with regular assessments and treatment. Soft tissue therapy like massage, joint mobilisation, muscle and joint manipulation, and rehabilitation exercises all help aid with reducing the risk on injury, assisting recovery and increasing performance.

I hope this post helps to keep you hitting the fairways during Melbourne’s return to normal. If any of these issues are affecting you and your golf and you would like some advice or treatment, book an appointment below with one of our experienced practitioners or contact the clinic for more details.

Book your appointment


Costa, S., Chibana, Y., Giavarotti, L., Compagnoni, D., Shiono, A., Satie, J. and Bracher, E., 2009. Effect of spinal manipulative therapy with stretching compared with stretching alone on full-swing performance of golf players: a randomized pilot trial. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 8(4), pp.165-170.
Robinson, P., Murray, I., Duckworth, A., Hawkes, R., Glover, D., Tilley, N., Hillman, R., Oliver, C. and Murray, A., 2018. Systematic review of musculoskeletal injuries in professional golfers. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 53(1), pp.13-18.
Gosheger, G., Liem, D., Ludwig, K., Greshake, O. and Winkelmann, W., 2003. Injuries and Overuse Syndromes in Golf. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 31(3), pp.438-443.