Posted on August 7, 2012

Spending a day at the club can be like taking a mini vacation. Regular responsibilities are put aside to enjoy a game of tennis, a swim, a friendly round of golf or to work out.  The gains for body, mind, and spirit are many, however along with the benefits come risks for injuries.

ONS PT Chalon Lefebvre demonstrates an effective golf stretch.

Many common injuries may get better on their own, while others require medical treatment.  The repetitive motions of any sport can take a toll over time and if your technique isn’t always picture perfect, you may be creating unintended stress on joints and ligaments.

Shoulder injuries are particularly common in racket sports.  Injuries to the rotator cuff, a group of tendons within the shoulder joint, can range from inflammation (tendinitis) to a tear.  Tendinitis can often be treated with rest and physical therapy; whereas a rotator cuff tear that can impact normal range of motion, often requires surgery to resolve. Persistent shoulder pain warrants an evaluation by a physician, ideally an orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine specialist.

Injuries to the elbow are common in both racket sports and golf.  Tennis elbow is an injury to tendons on the outside of the elbow, while golfer’s elbow is an injury to the tendons on the inside.  Both are common overuse injuries and are often caused by repetitive activities other than their names imply.  They may improve with rest but often require bracing, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications.  Less often, the problem persists and may require surgery.

A knee injury can result from a missed step on the tennis court or playing golf.  The meniscus is a cushion of cartilage within the knee; one on the inside and one on the outside.  They can easily be torn even without major trauma.  In some cases just kneeling down to tie a shoe can cause a tear, so you might not recall a precipitating event. Many knee injuries improve with rest and therapy, but sometimes an arthroscopic procedure is needed to fix or clean up the damage.

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is an important stabilizer in the knee.  A tear or “rupture” of the ACL is usually caused by significant trauma or landing and twisting motions, such as from skiing or jumping in basketball.  If you experience both pain and swelling in your knee, it’s important to have it evaluated by a doctor.

The Achilles tendon is also commonly injured with fast cutting moves, as in tennis, squash and paddle tennis.  These injuries range from inflammation to a complete rupture of the tendon.  Some patients feel a dull pain in the Achilles just before a rupture, but generally they describe it as a single moment. You’ll often hear people say they thought someone kicked them in the back of the calf when actually it was the tendon giving way.

Can injuries be avoided without giving up your club ranking? Maybe not entirely, but it is possible to minimize the wear and tear on your body by implementing a proper conditioning and stretching program that is specific to your activities.  In general people sustain an injury when they don’t take the time to prepare their bodies properly, and when they don’t listen to their bodies and stop at the first sign of pain.

Tips to help prevent Country Club Injuries:

  • Adopt a conditioning and strengthening program that builds core strength and works on flexibility.
  • Start any sport with a warm up and gentle stretches. Don’t just walk onto the court and start slamming at tennis balls or swinging at golf balls.
  • Periodically check your mechanics. Take a lesson, or work with a coach to make sure your technique is good.
  • If you do get an injury or feel some pain, stop and rest and see if it subsides.
  • If pain persists, get checked out so you don’t make a small problem a larger one.