Golf Wrist Injuries

By Patrick Cameron
Wrists take the brunt of the impact in the game of golf.
Wrists take the brunt of the impact in the game of golf.

Golf is known as the "gentleman's game." But, while golf doesn't at first seem to be a game that is fraught with injury, keep in mind that the golf swing uses almost every part of the body to swing the club and move the ball closer to the hole. Wrist injuries are one of the most common ailments. A golfer's wrist absorbs a majority of the club's impact with both the ground and the ball.


Tendonitis is the most common type of wrist ailment that can sideline your golf game. Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons in the wrist affecting the flexor tendons, the extensor tendons or both. Sometimes, what is affecting the wrist can start at the elbow and work its way down to the forearm and then the wrist, an injury known as medial epicondylitis, or golfer's elbow. Other times, the tendonitis can be localized in the wrist alone due to playing too much golf or an incorrect golf swing. Rest is generally the best medicine for tendonitis, but anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and napoxen sodium can help alleviate some of the discomfort.

Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Injuries

The triangular fibrocartilage complex is an area of cartilage and ligament on the outside of the wrist that can become torn due to the excessive motion in the wrist during a game of golf. The complex is primarily responsible for creating stability in the wrist area. Injuring it can cause pain in the outer wrist area below the pinky finger and a catching effect when rotating the wrist. Rest and anti-inflammatory medicine can help to treat the pain associated with triangular fibrocartilage complex and can give a small tear time to heal. Larger tears, if they are causing pain and affecting your golf game, may require arthroscopic surgery to correct.

Hamate Bone

The hamate bone, otherwise known as the wrist bone, can break due to the force exerted in the swing and contact with the ground. The hamate bone includes a bone on the inside of your wrist, close to your palm, along with a small hook that comes up in to the palm area. It's not unheard of to fracture that hook due to the impact from the club grip when contact is made. While not very common, playing golf in cold weather (when the ground is hard) or hitting a fat shot can be all it takes to fracture the hamate bone and put you off the course while you allow the bone to mend in a splint or cast. In the case of a more severe break, the bone will need to be removed at the fracture point.

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