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Good Golf Form Can Improve Game and Prevent Pain

Experts offer tips to minimize golf-related injuries

SATURDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- Golf may appear to be easier on the body than many other sports, but don't be fooled.

Poor form and technique can lead to injuries of the bones, muscles or joints, warns the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, which cited federal statistics showing that medical professionals treated more than 103,000 golf-related injuries in 2007.

"Golfers -- especially beginners, who haven't learned proper techniques yet -- are more susceptible to injuries from overuse and poor mechanics," Dr. Jon B. Tucker, an orthopedic surgeon and AAOS spokesman, said in a news release. "It's important for golfers to regularly participate in a muscle-conditioning program to reduce the risk of common golf injuries."

The maladies include hand tenderness or numbness; pain in the shoulder, back, knee or elbow, and wrist injuries, such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome, according to statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

To help prevent injuries that will keep you off the links, the AAOS recommends:

  • Taking lessons, especially if you are new to the sport, to learn the basic techniques. Beginners should also ease into regular playing to avoid overuse injuries.
  • Practicing on real grass when feasible instead of rubber mats, like those found on driving ranges.
  • Wearing clothes that offer comfort and protection from the weather conditions. Golf shoes with short cleats will help with stability.
  • Avoiding neck strain and rotator cuff problems by not hunching over your ball too often or too much when studying your shots.
  • Stretching the wrists and forearms properly before and during play and not overemphasizing your wrists during your swing.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about golf safety.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, news release, May 2009

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