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Get back into the swing of things with Kingsbridge Private Hospital

05th, Mar 2019

It is great to see the better weather and lighter nights drawing in. Spring is most definitely in the air and many of us are getting back outdoors doing the things we love such as walking, hiking, playing golf or even surfing.

It is great to see the better weather and lighter nights drawing in.  Spring is most definitely in the air and many of us are getting back outdoors doing the things we love such as walking, hiking, playing golf or even surfing.

In Northern Ireland we are lucky to have so much choice when it comes to outdoor pursuits.  For example, there are around 100 golf courses in Northern Ireland and considering we have a population of less than 2 million that is a lot of golf per head!  Not to mention the talent of some of our local players.    We really have been blessed when it comes to golfing.

As enjoyable as it is though, playing golf can lead to several complaints and aliments.  Most are caused by repetitive strain and while most can be treated at home, some can lead to the need for surgery.

Here we look at the most common conditions and how they can be treated.

1.       Lower Back Strain

When playing golf, the lower back is particularly susceptible to injury.  This can be due to twisting the back while swinging a club or through a sudden shift during the downswing.    Usually the best way to promote healing is to take a few days rest.   A heat or ice pack can be applied to the area and some pain medication taken to help reduce inflammation.   

If your pain continues for more than 2 weeks, it might be advisable to see your GP to rule out any specific problems.  Disc herniation is one back condition that can affect golfers and one which can lead to surgery if not treated early so it is important to see a specialist if your symptoms do not subside.


2.       Golfers Elbow

This is a condition that causes pain and inflammation to the tendons that flex your wrist and fingers.  It is caused by overusing the muscles in your forearm when swinging and gripping.   Repetitive strain can lead to tiny tears in the tendons which will cause the pain.  Other symptoms include stiffness and weakness in your wrist or grip strength.

Treatment for Golfers Elbow usually includes rest and anti-inflammatories.  In severe cases cortisone injections and physiotherapy may be required.  Usually symptoms should subside within 4 weeks.  If they don’t go away, then make an appointment to see your GP.


3.       Shoulder Problems

Pain in your shoulder and difficulty raising your arm can be caused by a rotator cuff strain.  Improving form and regular strength training can help avoid injury to this area. 

Although some rotator cuff tears heal with time, pain relief and compression, others may require surgery. 


4.       Knees joint stress

Knee injuries are common in golfing unfortunately and again these are caused due to the amount of rotation required by the body when swinging a club.  The knee isn’t designed well for the movements needed to swing and therefore torn ligaments and meniscal injuries are common. 

Tips to avoid stress on the knee include warming up properly and wearing correct footwear with a good arch to help provide support.  A brace can also be used as temporary measure if you are experiencing some discomfort.


5.       Fractured hook of hamate

The hamate bone is a small, unusually shaped bone in your wrist and is one of eight which make up the carpal tunnel bones.  Just like any bone it can be fractured when stress or trauma occurs. 

Fractures of the hamate are unusual but athletes, and golfers in particular, are more susceptible to fracturing this area.   Symptoms include swelling and bruising.  

A fracture of the hamate bone can be difficult to detect via normal x-ray and therefore MRI or CT may be needed.  Treatment can involve the application of a cast however in many cases healing does not occur, and surgery is the only option.   Recovery can take a few months and most cases the injured player will be able to return to playing.

Just like any sport, there is always a risk of injury.   At Kingsbridge Private Hospital we have a team of sports medicine specialists and physiotherapists on hand.   At our hospital you also have access to MRI and CT and with no waiting times you can get back to doing the things you love a lot sooner.    Our minor injuries open unit is also open Monday to Friday until 8pm, and on Saturday until 5pm.


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