Keeping the Swing on Par: Golfers and Upper Extremity Injuries they Face

Harin Parikh1, 2, *, Andrew Phillips2, Michael Stone1, Ryu Yoshida1, 2, Meghan McCullough1, 2, Mojca Herman3, Steven Shin1, 2
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA
2 Department of Hand Surgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA
3 Pro Rehab with Mo, Redondo Beach, CA 90278, USA, USA

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© 2023 Parikh et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA; E-mail:


Golf is a sport enjoyed by a rapidly growing population. While it is perceived as a low-demand activity, golf and its thousands of high-energy rotational swings can result in a plethora of upper extremity injuries. We examine the biomechanics of the golf swing and carry out a review, divided by anatomical region of the upper extremity (shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand), of common injuries associated with golf. Part I of this review details the shoulder and elbow pathology seen in golfers, while Part II covers the forearm, wrist, and hand injuries associated with the sport. PubMed was searched for articles using terms that corresponded to the specific injury and golf. Additional data was obtained via outside journal searches that did not appear in PubMed. This is a clinical review. Specific phases of the golf swing place golfers at risk for unique injuries that may affect either the leading (left side in a right-handed golfer) or trailing (right side in a left-handed golfer) extremity. Amateur and professional golfers are at higher risk for different injuries, as pros are more likely to suffer overuse injuries, while amateurs may have injuries secondary to improper grip or swing form. We identify and comment on six shoulders, two elbow, eight forearm and wrist, and three hand injuries associated with golf. Current trends in management, as well as golf-specific rehabilitation and return to sport timelines, are discussed for each injury. Growing participation and an aging population make golf a common source of upper extremity injury. We delineate 19 of the most common upper extremity injuries that golfers face and equip providers with up-to-date information to appropriately diagnose, manage, and rehabilitate these injuries.

Keywords: Golf injuries, Shoulder, Elbow, Forearm, Wrist, Hand.