Common Knee Injuries (Golf) | How To Fix Them

Written By on December 12, 2022 — Medically Reviewed By Kris Ceniza (PT)

Written by on December 12, 2022 — Medically Reviewed By: Kris Ceniza (PT)

Knee injuries in golf are not the most common, but they can occur for a number of reasons.

They represent around 10% of golfing injuries.

There are three main types of knee injuries that are common when playing golf.

These include aggravating existing knee conditions, soft tissue injuries, and overuse injuries.

Here we will be looking at the following topics;

  • Knee injuries that occur during golf
  • The impact of golfing on the knees
  • Playing golf with a torn meniscus
  • Common golf injuries
  • What can be torn in your knee?

One of the main prevention tools used by golfers is a knee brace. Check out our reviews for the best knee braces to wear while golfing here. 

Knee Injuries from Golf

We have already outlined the three main sources of golf knee pain. But what is the best way to avoid them?

Aggravating existing knee conditions, such as arthritis, is one of the ways in which golf can affect the knee joint.

Bending and squatting to retrieve balls and excessive amounts of walking can work against you with these issues.

Injuries to soft tissue are a result of the extreme force placed on the knee joint, resulting in ligament damage, torn cartilage, and other soft tissue damage.

Knee Force Knee Sleeve

Poor swing mechanics and overuse will result in overuse injuries of the knees.

Good body mechanics and training in this area can avoid such issues from arising.

What can be torn in your knee?

1. Cruciate Ligament Tears

These are two short, strong ligaments located at the center of the knee joint.

These are two short, strong ligaments located at the center of the knee joint.

They cross each other to form an ‘x’ shape, connecting to the femur and tibia.

The ACL, anterior cruciate ligament, and PCL, posterior cruciate ligament, stabilize the knee.

The ACL is the most likely to tear, while the PCL is much stronger and harder to damage.

2. Collateral Ligament Tears

The medial collateral ligament is on the inner side of the knee, while the lateral collateral ligament is on the outer side.

The collateral ligaments are long, ropy cords of soft tissue on each side of the knee.

The medial collateral ligament is on the inner side of the knee, while the lateral collateral ligament is on the outer side.

These ligaments form an internal brace that keeps the tibia in position and prevents it from moving sideways.

Tears to these ligaments usually occur in contact sports, such as soccer and football.

A sideways fall while skiing can also injure these ligaments.

This injury occurs much less often than any other type of ligament tear in the knee.

3. Meniscal Tears

The smooth layer of cartilage within the knee joint are the menisci.

The smooth layer of cartilage within the knee joint are the menisci. These are the lateral and medial meniscus.

Each horseshoe-shaped piece of cartilage rests between the femur and tibia.

The cartilage may become damaged as a result of sports, but it can also deteriorate over time.

When it wears thin this can cause a tear.

Damage to the meniscus cartilage increases the risk of other cartilage damage in the knee joint, such as the articular cartilage.

Articular cartilage damage may lead to more serious conditions, for example, osteoarthritis.

Frequently asked questions

Is golf hard on knees?

The knee is the most commonly injured joint in golf, second only to the lower back.

These knee injuries can alter swing mechanics and result in poor ball placement and higher scores.

Knee Force Knee Sleeve

Can you play golf with torn meniscus?

golfer with a torn meniscus must fully recover from the injury, whether or not he or she has had surgery, before returning to golf.

This will likely include physical therapy and strengthening exercises to make sure the knee is strong enough to play.

What is the most common injury in golf?

1. Back Pain
The rotational stress of the golf swing can more likely cause back pain than many other sports.

This is why it is the most common golf injury. It puts pressure on the spine and muscles.

This combined with the bent-over stance of golfers makes it a very common injury in the sport.

To avoid this you should add exercises to stretch and strengthen your back.

2. Tendinitis in the Elbows

Tendinitis is the most common condition affecting the elbow.

It is frequently referred to as “tennis elbow” when there is an injury to the outer tendon, and “golfer’s elbow” when there is an injury to the inner tendon.

Most golfers are more likely to develop tennis elbow than golfers elbow coincidently.

The risk of tendinitis increases with age and is also higher in people who perform activities requiring repetitive movements.

3. Knee Pain
The strain placed on a weak knee, stabilizing the rotation of the hip axis, can lead to knee pain and injury.
This movement often occurs at the beginning of a swing.
It can cause torn ligaments, and arthritis sufferers may be more susceptible to knee problems because of degeneration in the joint.

4. Rotator Cuff
Pain in the shoulder and upper arm at various phases of the golf swing, or after play, during the night, and when extending your arm could be a result of the injury to the rotator cuff.

Golfers can develop tendinitis, bursitis, and tears in the rotator cuff due to the repetitive motion of the golf swing.

These injuries are often treated with anti-inflammatory drugs or in rare cases surgery.

5. Wrist Injuries
Golf is full of repetitive movements, and these are the most common ways that golfers can injure their wrists.
Pain and tenderness on the top of the wrist, experienced at the top of the backswing and at impact, are common.
The most common golf-related wrist injury is tendinitis or swelling of the tendons responsible for wrist movement.

6. Hand and Finger Injuries
Repetitive blunt trauma or single severe trauma to the fingers can lead to numerous conditions such as tendinitis, broken or deformed bones, and a condition called hypothenar hammer syndrome, or HHS.
Learning the proper grip and avoiding long periods of ball bashing will help to avoid hand and finger injuries.

7. Neck Injuries
Neck injuries are most common in new golfers. This is because they are not used to twisting their bodies so much.

8. Foot and Ankle Injuries
The body during a golf swing acts like a whip. It starts at the feet, pushing into the ground.

Each foot moves in a different way during a golf swing.
Injuries will most likely occur when the golfer loses their footing or balance during a swing. It can also happen when performing improper swing mechanics or hitting a ball from an uneven surface.

Mitch Torres (PT)
Mitch is a physical therapist, personal trainer, and nutrition coach. Fascinated with the knee joint, Mitch poured that passion into writing about knee pain and how to overcome it with movement. His goal is to teach you how to apply this knowledge into your daily life, so you can keep knee pain away for good.