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Get a Grip to Prevent Golf Wrist Injuries

Stretching and strengthening exercises will help you avoid painful tendonitis

SATURDAY, May 17, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Few things are sweeter than the feel of a golf club making a solid connection with a ball. But as all golfers know, achieving the satisfaction of a solid "thwack" takes years of practice and a great grip.

Because the grip is the body's sole connection to a golf club, wrist action is a critical part of the game. The repetitive motions of golf and the high speed of the typical golf swing, however, place wrists at a high risk for injury.

According to the University of Wisconsin Sports Medicine Clinic, the most common golf-related wrist injury is tendonitis, or swelling of the tendons responsible for wrist movement. Wrist tendonitis is characterized by localized pain in the wrist muscles and tendons, as well as occasional swelling and crepitus, which is a creaking, grinding sensation that happens when the wrist is flexed.

The most common treatment for golf-related tendonitis is ice, anti-inflammatory medications, bracing, stretching and strengthening exercises and occasionally steroid injections.

According to sports medicine experts, however, it's fairly easy to prevent most wrist injuries associated with golfing. A combination of stretching and strengthening exercises is usually recommended, with stretching important before every round of practice or play, as well as during the course of a game, as necessary.

Any number of wrist-strengthening exercises can be helpful. Experts often recommend a consultation with a sports medicine professional as the best way to develop a specific and personalized wrist exercise regimen, because faulty exercise mechanics can play havoc with the dynamics of the wrist, elbow and shoulder.

There is general agreement, however, that regardless of what grip a golfer prefers -- overlapping, interlocking or 10-fingered -- that proper wrist flexibility during a swing requires that both hands be in parallel alignment. This means the palms are facing one another along the target line. Such a posture makes a natural wrist motion possible and facilitates rotation of the arm as well.

More information

Learn more about how to prevent golf injuries from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons .

SOURCE: University of Wisconsin Sports Medicine Center; American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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