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Injury Prevention

Love hitting balls on the range? Watch out for this common golf injury

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NICK VEASEY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Of all the areas of the body where golfers are most susceptible to injury, two that are often overlooked are your wrists. Whether you realize it or not, every time you swing, you're putting a lot of stress on the tiny bones at the base of your hands. And it's not just the collisions between club and turf or club and mat that are felt at these joints. It's also the change of direction at the top of the swing and the eventual stopping of the swing that can cause damage.

Perhaps the most common injury to the wrists for golfers occurs at the base of the pinky on the lead or gloved hand, says retired orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bill Mallon, a longtime contributor to Golf Digest. The bone is known as the hook of the hamate and it's susceptible to fractures because of the forces applied to it as you swing. Holding the club too tightly also contributes.


Avid golfers should do whatever they can to protect their wrists because injuries to this sensitive area take a long time to fully heal and can become a chronic issue, Mallon says.

Part of that protection comes from being a smarter golfer and the rest can be addressed in the gym. First, the golf. Check with your local pro to be sure the circumfrence of your golf grips matches the size of your hands. Also adjust you grip, says legendary golf instructor David Leadbetter, by letting it rest more in your fingers than in the palm, which allows it to properly hinge and release without as much stress on the joint. Leadbetter also says to check your divots. Thin is better than thick, despite what you see on the PGA Tour.

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When you get back in the gym, try these exercises from Ben Shear, Golf Digest's chief fitness advisor.


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