Michigan Orthopaedic Institute, P.C.
A Division of Michigan Orthopaedic Surgeons, L.L.C.
Affiliated with Beaumont Royal Oak
If you golf, you likely are no stranger to the aches and pains of the next day or two. Your back, elbow, and hand/wrist are the most commonly affected areas, and your leading hand/wrist is most at risk.
Tendonitis is the most common problem in a golfer’s wrist. Rest (helped by splinting), ice, and anti-inflammatory medicines can be very helpful. Your doctor might have other suggestions if these don’t seem to be doing the trick.
If you are gripping a club and hit a rock or hard ground, you might even break a bone in your wrist! The hook of the hamate bone “sticks out” in your palm and is susceptible to injury by this mechanism. If you had an injury like this, you might have tenderness in the “ball” of your hand across from your thumb. Some people get numbness in the little and ring fingers because the ulnar nerve that supplies sensation to these fingers runs next to the hook of the hamate. Some people also feel irritation when they bend those fingers because their flexor tendons can rub against the fracture. Your doctor might be able to see this on an X-ray or might send you for a CT scan to look for the break. Sometimes a hamate hook fracture is identified when an MRI is done to look for a different injury. Hook of hamate fractures usually are treated either by casting or by surgically removing the fragment, depending on how long ago the injury happened and the symptoms that you are having.
It is a common misconception that lifting weights to “strengthen” the muscles that flex your wrist will help the symptoms of golfer’s elbow. Actually, passive stretching of the “flexor” muscles (along with avoiding aggravating activities) is most helpful.
Perhaps the most serious golf injuries I have seen result from golf cart accidents; unfortunately, people have sustained fractures, dislocations, amputations, head injuries, and even died during bad golf cart events. Remember to use caution (and refrain from alcohol and drugs) while driving the cart!