Fractured Wrist : Golf Injuries

The wrist is the third most common area of the body to be injured in golf. The wrist that golfers lead their swing with is most at risk from injury, especially if the muscles in the forearms are not conditioned for golf. A fracture of the hook of the hamate bone is particularly common in golf.

Where is the Hamate Bone?

The hamate is a small triangular-shaped bone in the wrist that is made up of a body and a hook. The hook part of the bone sticks out towards the palm of the hand and is vulnerable to injury during golf.

How Can the Hook of the Hamate Become Fractured?

A fracture can be caused by a sudden traumatic impact or through repetitive stress, which can cause the bones to become weakened and damaged. The repetitive motion and high speed of the golf swing make the wrists vulnerable to injury. The hook of the hamate is especially at risk of damage when the golf club is hit hard against the ground, because the handle crosses over this small bone when you are holding the club. The force of the impact is carried up the club to the wrist and if it is strong enough, a fracture may occur. Fractures to the hook of the hamate bone are more common than fractures to the body of the bone and one third are caused by repetitive stress.

What are the Symptoms?

The wrist will feel painful, stiff and weak, especially when performing activities that require lots of movement in the wrist. The range of movement in the wrist will be limited and you may experience a numb or tingling sensation.

How Can This Type of Injury be Prevented?

Ensuring you are using the right method and are gripping the club correctly during the golf swing will greatly reduce the risk of both repetitive strain and acute injuries. Improving your technique will reduce the amount of strain placed on the wrist and minimize the risk of mis-hits that may result in a traumatic blow to the wrist. You must also listen to your body and not over-practise. If your wrist is feeling stiff or sore you should stop playing and rest to allow it to recover. Continuing to play when you may already have a slight injury can make it much worse.  Prior preparation will also help to protect the wrist from injury. Exercises that improve the strength and flexibility of the muscles and joints in the wrist and arm will make the wrist more resilient. You should also never underestimate the importance of taking the time to warm up properly before playing.

How is a Wrist Fracture Treated?

A fracture to the hook of the hamate can often be difficult to diagnose because the bones in the wrist are so small, a fracture may not always show up on an X ray. The doctor may also give you a CT scan, which will show the signs of a fracture much more clearly. If the fracture is quite small and is caught early, a splint or cast may be put on the wrist. If the fracture is more serious or has been left untreated for some time, an operation to remove the broken bone fragment will probably be necessary.

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