Golf and Arthritis
Good news! If you’re an arthritis sufferer, you don’t have to give up your golf game! In fact, playing golf can add strength and mobility to your body overall and improve your range of motion.
Research shows that one of the best treatments for osteoarthritis is exercise. It can improve mood and outlook, decrease pain, increase flexibility, improve the heart and blood flow, maintain weight, and promote general physical fitness.
Usually, osteoarthritis (the most common form of arthritis) comes on slowly. Early in the disease, joints may ache after physical work or exercise. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint. Most often it occurs at the hands, hips, knees, or spine.
Right. All those areas used in playing the game of golf.
No worries, though. Golf actually helps increase your range of motion and your balance as well. And the walking, if you can do it, will benefit your health in numerous ways. In short, golf is one of the perfect exercises for someone with osteoarthritis!
Now here’s the key – you are probably going to need some special products to make golf a little easier on your joints.
The Arthritis Foundation shares some tips for golfers to help you keep enjoying this wonderful sport and suggests some products that might help you.
- For instance, it’s a good idea to wear wrist braces and gloves when you play. This will help stabilize the joints in your wrists and hands. Both these items are inexpensive.
- Try using a lower compression ball.
- Golf shoes without spikes will likely be more comfortable for you.
- Ask your local golf store specialist about the latest helps for making golfing easier on your joints. New products are coming out all the time.
- Always warm up before you play. Do some basic stretches, take some practice swings. Start out swinging about half strength. Never try to hit the ball too hard. This one goes for everyone – not just folks with arthritis. It’s accuracy that counts!
- Using tees will help.
- Drink water while you’re playing. (again, a tip for everyone)
- If you feel tired, listen to your body and rest a bit. It’s not a mortal sin to play less than 18 holes. The key is to enjoy the game.
Now, if you’re feeling sore after play, here are some things to try.
- Take a warm shower.
- Do some gentle stretching exercises.
- Use an ice pack on the sore area.
- Rest the sore joint.
- Try magnetic therapy.
- Try to keep your weight down. Too much weight can make your knees and hips hurt
If playing golf causes pain that lasts for more than 1 hour, it’s too much. Work with your physical therapist or doctor to adjust your game when you notice any of the following signs of too much exercise:
- Unusual or persistent fatigue
- Increased weakness
- Decreased range of motion
- Increased joint swelling
- Continuing pain (pain that lasts more than 1 hour after exercising)
Really, when it comes right down to it, playing golf (along with warming up for your game with range of motion exercises) may be just what the doctor orders for arthritis help!
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