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Three Common Injuries in Golfers


Golf is a relatively safe game, but golf players are not immune to injuries. Dedicated golfers often experience pain in their elbows, shoulders, and knees. These injuries can be due to overuse, repetitive movement, and (sometimes) trauma.


Here are three of the most common injuries Dr. Joseph and his team at Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery treat in our active golfing community.


1. Meniscus Tears in Golf

Meniscus tears are a common injury seen in golfers. Thanks to all the pivoting and turning involved with golf, a golfer’s meniscus can undergo a lot of stress. Thankfully, meniscus tears in golfers are rare, representing only about ten percent of all golf-related injuries. However, they do happen - especially in players with pre-existing knee issues (such as instability).


It’s easy to mistake a meniscus tear for another type of knee injury. So how do you know if you’re experiencing a meniscus injury or just simple knee pain? Some symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Pain

  • Swelling

  • Instability

  • A feeling of catching or locking

Treating a golfer’s meniscus tear will depend on the severity and location of the tear. Click here to learn more about meniscus tears and the potential treatment options Dr. Joseph could recommend.


2. Golfer’s Elbow aka Elbow Tendinitis

Tendinitis is an overuse injury in which the tendons become inflamed. This causes:

  • Elbow pain

  • Elbow tenderness

  • Elbow stiffness

  • Weakness in the hand and/or wrist

  • Finger numbness

  • Finger tingling

Medial epicondylitis is tendinitis that affects the inner elbow. This is more commonly referred to as golfer’s elbow. Golfer’s elbow is the result of repetitive swinging, gripping, and flexing motions that lead to microtears and irritation in the elbow’s tendon.


Golfer’s elbow, as well as its sister condition tennis elbow, can be treated nonsurgically. Click here to learn more about tendonitis in the elbow and its treatment options.


3. Torn Rotator Cuffs In Golfers

The rotator cuff is made up of four different muscles that are attached to the shoulder joint by tendons. These muscles and tendons help the shoulder rotate and move the arm. In golf, the rotator cuff is essential to transferring force from the torso through the club during a swing.


Any damage to those muscles and tendons can result in a torn rotator cuff. This is one of the most common injuries in golfers. A torn rotator cuff in a golfer can be caused by:

  • A misaligned swing

  • Overuse

  • Hitting a stationary object (such as a root or rock) with your club

  • Taking a “deep divot” during your golf stroke

A torn rotator cuff causes pain, weakness, and popping sensations in the shoulder. Treatment for a rotator cuff injury depends on its severity.


A sprain or mild tear can often be treated nonsurgically with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), physical therapy, or injections. However, in certain instances, a rotator cuff tear requires surgery to reattach the tendon to the bone or prevent complications further down the line.


Pain While Playing Golf? Contact Doctor Joseph Today!


Whether you’ve torn your meniscus, rotator cuff, or are just experiencing pain while golf, Dr. Joseph is here to help! An expert in sports injuries to the knee and upper extremities, Dr. Joseph will recommend a treatment plan that gets you back on the course.


Let’s get you back on top of your game! Schedule a consultation today by calling (970) 476-7220 or via our online appointment request form. Same-day, urgent care appointment slots are always available!


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