How to Treat Sore Hands From Golf?

Ask any golfer, and they will tell you that the hands and wrists come in for the most stick after elbow and back injuries. Most golfers see their hands and wrists as one entity, so we’ll deal with them as such.

Chronic injuries tend to affect professional and low-handicap players rather than recreational players as they play significant amounts of golf, and the game’s repetitive nature causes damage. 

Wrists plague golfers more often than hands because of the importance of the wrists in both long and short games. In the long game, the snap the wrists give is vital for distance and accuracy, while they allow you to feel the stroke in your short game.

Forearm strength is essential, and where this is lacking, injuries to the extremities are more prevalent, and it is always the leading wrist that is stressed. 

Two types of injuries occur. Chronic injuries are caused by overuse, but acute injuries such as sprains or fractures come from poor play, such as hitting roots, rocks, or hard ground instead of the ball. Here we will look at how to treat sore hands from Golf.

Common Hand Injuries Caused Due to Golf

Firstly let’s look at the chronic conditions that develop over time.

Tendonitis

This is the most common hand/wrist injury for golfers. It is caused by the acute inflammation of the tendons that occur in the wrist.

Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex

TFCC is the cartilage structure made up of tendons, ligaments, and cartilage that connects the bones of the forearm with the bones in the wrist. It supports the wrist’s carpal bones and stabilizes the ulna and radius in the forearm when your hand is used to hold something or your forearm rotates.

Injuries to the TFCC cause pain in the wrist. The pain is caused by either a tear from over-rotation or a degenerative condition from use over time. 

Hypothenar Hammer Syndrome (Injuries to Blood Vessels)

An injury to the major arteries in the hand, Hypothenar Hammer Syndrome, occurs when the palm is repeatedly struck, weakening the wall of the blood vessel. This results in the enlargement of the vessel and, in some cases, blood clots.

This type of injury causes pain in the palm, and as the blood flow to the fingers is disrupted, there may be some discoloration, numbness, or pain in the fingertips. 

Now here are a couple of acute injuries a golfer may face.

Sprains of the Wrist or Fingers

Sprains occur when golfers hit an immovable object such as a rock or root rather than the ball. Fat shots are also a cause of wrist and finger sprains. 

Fracture of the Hook of the Hamate

The Hamate is a small wedge-shaped bone found on the little-finger side of the wrist. The Hamate has a small bony projection called the Hook of Hamate, and this tiny projection can be broken by a blow to the wrist or stress transferred through the wrist. 

Fractures to this tiny bone most often come from the golfer hitting an immovable object rather than the ball, as the handle lies directly over this bone when you grip the club.

This injury is characterized by pain on the little-finger side of the palm, and if the injury is irritating the tendons, there could be a tingling feeling in the little and ring fingers. If the broken bone is rubbing against the tendons, the golfer could also have a clicking sensation when bending these two fingers. 

How to Treat Sore Hands from Golf?

Now, let’s look at how to treat these injuries.

Tendonitis

As tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons, over-the-counter pain relief will help. The best pain relief will contain ibuprofen. It isn’t a good idea to take pain medication for a long time, so what else can be done to relieve this.

Unfortunately, rest is highly unpopular with golfers, but it is the best course of action. Trying to push through the pain will only cause more inflammation.

Also, wrap ice packs in a thin towel and apply the pack to the inflamed area three or four times a day for fifteen to twenty minutes at a time.

It will also help to wear a brace to support the wrist while it is healing. Hands and wrists are used continuously during the day, so anything you can do to support it while healing will speed the recovery.

Physiotherapy will also assist in healing the tendons.

Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC)

This is a severe injury and should be treated as such. The treatment offered will depend on the severity of the injury, which scans will determine.

Minor tears can be treated by immobilizing the wrist, ice packs, and anti-inflammatory medication. If the anti-inflammatory medication does not relieve the symptoms, cortisone injections may bolster recovery.

It can take up to six or eight weeks before you can think of playing again. You may have to wear a wrist brace while playing to provide support when returning to play.

In severe cases, surgery will be needed to repair the tear. Your wrist will be immobilized for four to six weeks, after which physiotherapy will help get a range of motion back. 

Hypothenar Hammer Syndrome (Injuries to Blood Vessels)

Again, your first course of action is to rest to allow the inflammation to heal. Also, if you smoke, you will be asked to give up smoking as smoking causes swelling and inflammation in the blood vessels. 

If rest does not solve the problem, surgery may be required to repair the damaged blood vessels. This will mean no playing for six to eight weeks.

Sprains of the Wrist or Fingers

Treat these sprains as you would tendonitis. Rest is imperative, and it will take anywhere from two to ten weeks for the sprain to heal.

Fracture of the Hook of the Hamate

This injury is difficult to see with x-rays, so a CT scan is used to diagnose. 

Complicated fractures do not heal properly without assistance, so surgery is required. The surgeon will either remove the ‘hook’ or screw it back into place during the operation. Your wrist will be immobilized for at least two weeks, after which physiotherapy will help get back a full range of motion. 

Can These Injuries Be Serious – Should You Call a Doctor?

As we have indicated, these injuries can be severe if not treated correctly. We suggest contacting your doctor if any of these things happen:

  • The pain in your hand or wrist persists past a few days.
  • You have any numbness or tingling in your hands.
  • You feel a sharp pain when hitting a fat shot or hitting a rock or log.
  • When any movement of the hand or fingers causes acute pain.

How Do You Protect Your Hands in Golf?

There are several ways to protect your hands and wrists while playing.

Use the Correct Clubs

Firstly, make sure that your clubs are the correct weight and size for you. 

Consult your local golf pro for advice to ensure that your clubs fit your hands properly. 

If the clubs are not suitable for you, your Pro will advise you on the correct length and weight. You can then go forward and buy the right clubs for your body size.

Also, check that the width of the grip is correct for your hands. Purchasing a new set of grips will ensure that your clubs fit securely into your hands and will not cause shocks when hitting the ball.






Fix Your Swing

The power in your swing comes from forces transferred through your whole body, from ankles to wrists. If you overemphasize your wrists in your swing, injuries are bound to follow.

Ask your Club Pro to assess your swing and make corrections when necessary.

Use the Orange Whip Training Aid to assist you. This was rated as the top training aid for swing in 2022 and helps formulate the correct movement, connection, rhythm, tempo, and balance.






Turn to this nifty swing correcting tool to ensure your wrists are correctly hinged, and your clubface is square during your swing. 






If you consistently have issues with your wrist position during play, try using this TGT Arm to help you achieve the ideal arm, elbow, and wrist position throughout your swing.






Remember to take a little time to warm up and stretch before playing your round. 

Gloves

Golfers must wear gloves. Not only do they protect from the elements and help prevent blisters, but they can also help with cushioning the impact of the club in the hands.

Gloves with built-in wrist support help prevent many wrist injuries and help heal and support a previous injury when returning to play.






This type of thin leather glove will help the golfer who wants a firm grip on the club but doesn’t require any extra padding.






If you are experiencing weakness in your hands, perhaps after surgery, try Bionic Gloves that help grip and maintain pressure on the club. 






Conclusion

The chronic injuries to the hands and wrists tend to come from prolonged play and are unlikely to affect the recreational player. Acute injuries such as sprains and breaks tend to be more commonplace amongst recreational players.

The acute injuries often result from having a poor swing. Improving your swing by using training aids and coaching from a professional coach will go a long way to avoiding such injuries.

Any of the injuries that we have discussed need rest and care. Your hands are vital to enjoying your golf to the fullest, so take care of them.

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