golf and arthritis

golf and arthritis

Good news! If you suffer from arthritis, you don’t have to give up your golf game! In fact, playing golf can add strength and mobility to your overall body 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 heart and blood flow, maintain weight, and promote general fitness.

Osteoarthritis (the most common form of arthritis) usually comes on slowly. Early in the disease, the joints may ache after physical labor or exercise. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint. Most of the time it occurs in the hands, hips, knees or spine, all those areas that are used to play golf.

Don’t worry though. Golf actually helps increase your range of motion and also your balance. And walking, if you can do it, will benefit your health in many ways. In short, golf is one of the perfect exercises for someone with osteoarthritis!

Now here’s the kicker: You’ll probably need some special products to make golf a little easier on your joints.

At, the Arthritis Foundation shares some tips for golfers to help them continue to enjoy this wonderful sport and suggests some products that might help.

For example, it’s a good idea to wear wrist guards and gloves when you play. This will help stabilize the joints in the wrists and hands. Both items are cheap.

Try using a lower compression ball.

Spikeless golf shoes are likely to be more comfortable for you.

Ask your local golf shop specialist about the latest aids to make golfing easier on your joints. New products are coming out all the time.

Always warm up before playing. Do some basic stretches, take a few practice swings. Start by swinging with half your force. Never try to hit the ball too hard. This one goes for everyone, not just people with arthritis. It’s the precision that counts!

Wearing t-shirts will help you.

Drink water while you play. (again, a tip for everyone)

If you feel tired, listen to your body and get some rest. It is not a mortal sin to play less than 18 holes. The key is to enjoy the game.

Now if you feel sore after playing, here are some things you can try.

Take a warm shower.

Do some gentle stretching exercises.

· Use an ice pack on the sore area.

Rest the painful joint.

Try magnetotherapy.

· 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, that’s too much. Work with your physical therapist or doctor to adjust your game when you notice any of the following signs of overexercising:

unusual or persistent fatigue

greatest weakness

Decreased range of motion

Increased inflammation of the joints

Continuous pain (pain that lasts more than 1 hour after exercising)

Really, when it comes down to it, playing golf (along with warming up your game with range of motion exercises) may be just what the doctor orders to help with arthritis.

Copyright 2006 Tyler Powers

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