Upper Body Injuries in Golfers

Upper body injuries in golfers:


– Golf is a popular global sport played by athletes of all ages and skill levels. While considered relatively safe, golf does carry injury risk.

Injury Epidemiology

– Upper extremity injuries comprise around 20-30% of golf injuries in amateurs and professionals. Wrist, elbow, and shoulder are most commonly affected.
– Professionals have higher injury rates than amateurs due to greater swing forces and playing volume.
– Overuse is the primary mechanism in professionals. Trauma and poor swing mechanics underlie most amateur injuries.

Common Injuries

– Wrist: hook of hamate fractures, extensor carpi ulnaris tendinopathy are most frequent acute injuries. Flexor tendon overuse also occurs.
– Elbow: Lateral epicondylitis exceeds medial epicondylitis due to repetitive wrist extension forces.
– Shoulder: Impingement, AC joint arthritis, rotator cuff disease, biceps tendinitis, and anterior instability predominate. Labral tears can occur.


– Optimizing swing mechanics, equipment fitting, core strength, warm-up routines, and generalized conditioning may reduce injury risk.
– An RCT showed a structured 10 minute warm-up before play significantly decreased overall injury rates.


– Most injuries can be managed non-operatively with activity modification, physical therapy focused on kinetic chain deficits, medications, and injections.
– Refractory cases may ultimately require surgery, e.g. tendon debridement, repair, arthroplasty. Outcomes are generally good.


– A mix of overuse and acute trauma underlies most golf injuries. Prevention should target swing mechanics, equipment, and physical conditioning.
– Early diagnosis and structured rehab can optimize outcomes. Surgery is a last resort after failed conservative treatment.

In summary, while golf is overall a safe sport, upper limb injuries are common and can impair performance. However, proper swing training, preventive exercises, and prompt targeted treatment help minimize morbidity. Continued research on injury mechanisms and prevention is warranted.

For Full Research Paper:


© 2023 Dr. Robert Afra – San Diego Orthopedic Surgery Shoulder – Knee – Elbow