PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

The Loop

Fitness Friday: Beware of the small bone that might cause a big injury

Tiger hurts hand.jpg

Getty Images

March 18, 2016

With golf season just getting under way, the last thing you'll want to do is miss any real time from the sport while recovering from a fracture. Unfortunately, a small bone at the base of your pinky finger could do just that if you're not careful with how you swing, and how you train.

The hook of hamate, part of your hand's skeletal structure, absorbs a lot of punishment every time your club strikes the ground. It also is compressed as you attempt to stop the club. The most common injury for golfers is a hairline fracture and, here's the bad part, recovery can take a couple of months off your valuable golf season. Just ask the PGA Tour's Ryan Moore who hurt it early in his career. Even worse, these breaks are often so tiny, X-rays don't detect them. Not trying to scare you here, but if you feel acute pain at the base of your hand or find it difficult to grip a club normally, or even feel numbness, damage to this bone might be the reason. It can also manifest in damage to the ulnar nerve, which is connected to the pinky adjacent to this bone. The ulnar nerve provides valuable sensory information in the last two fingers of the hand as well as the palm on that side. In short, you'll either feel pain or lose some proprioception.

Hook of hamate.jpg

Getty Images/iStockphoto

So what can you do to protect it? First, understand that you can take all the necessary precautions and still fracture this bone. The danger is inherent if you play golf. With that said here are some tips:

On the course

In the gym