Golf Rib Pain 101: Everything You Need To Know

The sport of golf can be traced as far back as the middle ages and was developed in Scotland and reached the United States in the late 19th century. Golf is a very popular sport today, but unfortunately, golf enthusiasts, beginners and advanced alike, are extremely susceptible to rib pain.

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Perhaps the most common cause of rib pain is overuse. Over time, golfers take thousands of swings and pain usually results. The problem is that the rib cage and all of the muscles that surround and wrap around the ribs are susceptible to injuries. Golfer’s ribs and or the surrounding muscles are vulnerable to injury mainly because of the high amount of repetitions those areas take from repeated swings of a golf club. Striking the club on the ground during a swing also can lead to a rib injury. This move results in a retraction of a muscle called the main serrate anterior muscle. The quick jolt of this muscle unfortunately causes heavy strain on ribs. Improper technique when swinging a golf club is also a common cause of rib pain. An improper swing, over time, with the action of thousands of swings, can lead to excessive stress on the adjoining muscles of the ribs. No stretching or inadequate stretching before playing may leave one susceptible to rib injuries. Beginning players are at most risk because their bodies are not used to the specific muscles that a swing engages.

There are several methods you can implement to prevent rib pain when playing golf. Practicing your swing in your mind without actually swinging the club is very beneficial. Visualizing a perfect swing can be just as effective as physically making a perfect swing, except that it can save much wear and tear on the rib cage. Another way to help prevent rib pain is to make sure you practice good mechanics when it comes to your swing. Have a golf instructor analyze your swing to make sure your mechanics are spot on. Conditioning your body and the specific muscles that will be used when swinging a club is perhaps the most important way to help prevent pain in your ribs. By participating in a specific conditioning program that focuses on strength and flexibility, you can significantly lower your risk of rib injuries because your muscles will be properly conditioned. This includes doing a complete warm up stretching routine before you begin a round of golf.

Even the most experienced golfers can suffer rib fractures or strain muscles surrounding the ribs. If you are experiencing rib pain and have your condition diagnosed early enough, before more serious damage occurs, simply resting for four to eight weeks should get you back on the course pain free. The key is to catch the problem early, have it diagnosed and then permanently fix the issue. The goal is not to think rehab, but instead, implement strategies to stop rib pain from occurring in the first place. Remember to avoid excessive swinging, make sure to use proper technique and always perform flexibility and strength exercises.

Adam Jenkins

I’m certainly no expert on the game of golf, but I am someone who knows what it’s like to start out completely overwhelmed. From one beginner to the next, here's to a better golf game!

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