Return to Golf: How Physical Therapy Can Help


Golf is often seen as a leisurely sport, with its players gliding across lush greens and swinging their clubs gracefully. However, beneath the tranquil surface, golf can be surprisingly strenuous, leading to a variety of common injuries.

From the notorious back pain resulting from the rotation of the swing to the wrist discomfort triggered by the high-speed motion, golfers face numerous physical challenges. Fortunately, physical therapy can play a significant role in both the recovery from these injuries and in their prevention.

Whether you are an enthusiast aiming for your perfect swing or a seasoned player seeking a resilient and injury-free game, understanding the role of physical therapy can elevate your golfing experience to new heights. It isn’t just about getting back on the course; it’s about reaching your full potential and enjoying golf with confidence and joy. Let’s explore some of the most prevalent golf-related injuries and how physical therapy can assist golfers to stay in the game.

Common Golf Injuries

The game of golf exerts significant physical demands on the body, stemming from the explosive nature of the golf swing. This dynamic movement engages a wide array of muscles in the upper and lower body, particularly emphasizing several vulnerable areas, including the back, knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and forearm.

Low Back Pain

Low back pain ranks among golf-related injuries as one of the most prevalent. Swinging a golf club involves a substantial rotation of the body’s framework, which can induce stress on the lower back and exert pressure on the spine. Over time, this repeated strain on the lower back can lead to the development of chronic golf-related back pain.

Injured Rotator Cuff

The shoulder joint is another area that bears the brunt of the golf swing’s force and repetitive motion. The constant pressure exerted on the shoulder can lead to injuries like tears in the rotator cuff, commonly caused by the force generated during the backswing. These injuries are often linked to the overuse of the shoulder in golf swings.

Golf and Tennis Elbow

Golfers can also experience pain in the elbow, particularly in the form of golf elbow, characterized by inflammation of the inner tendon of the elbow. This condition arises from an excessive reliance on forearm muscles during the golf swing.

Additionally, tennis elbow, a condition usually associated with racquet sports, can also affect golfers. It involves inflammation in the outer elbow tendon and is often attributed to premature release swings. Both golf and tennis elbow conditions happen from the repetitive strain and overuse of the forearm muscles during actions like flexing, rotating, gripping, and swinging.

Wrist Pain

The wrist can be susceptible to pain due to the repeated, high-speed movements inherent in golf swings. Common symptoms include tenderness at the top of the wrist, which tends to manifest upon impact with the ball and the apex of the backswing.

Knee Pain

Golfers are not immune to knee pain, which can be triggered by improper weight distribution during the swing. Additionally, the rapid alteration of the body’s position during the golf swing places stress on the knee joint.

Golf’s seemingly serene exterior conceals the physically demanding nature of the sport, with the golf swing placing particular stress on various body parts. Understanding these potential injuries and their causes can help prevent and address them. Additionally, seeking professional guidance, like physical therapy, can help golfers stay in the game while minimizing the risk of these golf-related injuries.

Physical Therapy for Recovery and Preventative Measures

Your therapist can lead you through a series of tailored exercises to enhance joint mobility, boost flexibility in your hip and shoulder muscles, improve your balance, and strengthen your core. Comprehensive strategies used in a golfer’s  physical therapy regimen usually include:

  • Manual therapy
  • Dry needling
  • Guidance on proper body mechanics to alleviate stress on joints
  • Correcting muscle imbalances
  • Shoulder and hip stabilization
  • Strengthening gluteal muscles

Physical therapy becomes integral to your healing journey if you are a golfer recovering from injuries. It can help with:

  • Pain Management — Physical therapists utilize different modalities, including ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and cold therapy, to mitigate pain and reduce inflammation. This enhances a golfer’s comfort and restores their range of motion.
  • Enhancing Mobility and Strength — Tailored exercise programs are at the core of physical therapy, helping golfers regain their lost range of motion while building the requisite strength to resume playing. These exercises are meticulously designed to target specific areas affected by the injury and rectify any imbalances that may have contributed to its occurrence.
  • Biomechanical Analysis — Physical therapists possess a deep understanding of movement patterns and biomechanics. Through this expertise, they can pinpoint problematic aspects of a golfer’s swing that might have contributed to the injury and work on corrective strategies to prevent future occurrences.
  • Education — Prevention is the best medicine. Physical therapists can educate golfers about proper body mechanics, warm-up routines, and stretching exercises to reduce the risk of future injuries.

Physical Therapy in Fort Collins and Loveland

In Fort Collins, Colorado, UpSlope Physical Therapy & Performance stands out as a hope for golfers to recover from injuries and avoid future setbacks. Golf is not just a game; it’s a sport that requires skill, strength, and endurance. Unfortunately, these demands can sometimes lead to injuries.

With the support of physical therapy, golfers can recover from and take steps to prevent injuries in the first place. Our team of experienced therapists are dedicated to helping golf enthusiasts overcome physical challenges and return to the game they love. 

Whether you’re a seasoned golfer looking to prevent injuries or someone recovering from a golf-related injury, UpSlope Physical Therapy is here to assist you. Don’t let pain and injuries keep you off the golf course any longer. We believe your game of golf should be a source of joy and fulfillment, not a cause of distress. 

Contact us today and take the first step towards a healthier, more active, and injury-free golfing experience. Your golf game and your body will thank you for it.

author avatar
Brady Hoffmann
As an active individual, staying healthy and injury-free is important to you. You make time for your workouts and training because it helps you focus, spend time with yourself, and work toward your goals.

Brady Hoffmann DPT, ATC

Owner and Founder of UpSlope PT

We Help Athletes and Active Adults Quickly Recover From Pain Or Injury So They Can Stay Active And Get Back To What They Love To Do.