Golf Shoulder Pain

Georgia Hand, Shoulder, and Elbow

The game of golf has seen a tremendous surge in popularity over the last 10 years. It may have been a part of your family for generations or maybe you just recently picked up a club for the first time. Either way, the new pain you are experiencing in your shoulder may be significantly limiting your enjoyment of one of America’s favorite pastimes.
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Our physicians at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow have many years of experience treating golf shoulder pain. For your convenience, we have two offices – one located in Atlanta and the other in Marietta, GA. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

We are dedicated to helping you alleviate your golf shoulder sports injury. To aid in doing so, we have provided additional information about this condition below.


What Is Golf Shoulder Pain?

Golf shoulder pain usually occurs as the result of repetitive overuse. Swinging a golf club can put tremendous stress on your shoulder and the muscles, tendons, and connective tissue surrounding it. Poor technique and overuse are key factors that can contribute to golf shoulder pain.

While it is common for professional players to experience golf shoulder pain, it is twice as likely for these injuries to develop in those who do not play professionally.


Symptoms of Golf Shoulder Pain

Golf shoulder pain can occasionally be mistaken for soreness. It is essential to know the symptoms of golf shoulder pain in order to prevent further aggravation. Some symptoms of golf shoulder pain include:

  • Increased pain when you lift or lower your arm
  • Shoulder aches at night, as well as when you are resting
  • A cracking sensation when you move your arm
  • Weakness in your arm
  • Difficulty rotating your arm


How Can Golf Shoulder Pain be Prevented?

For a golfer, prevention is essential. Maintaining and protecting your shoulder can help you avoid missing the season. To help prevent golf shoulder pain, you can:

  • Practice good form and technique. Playing golf improperly on a repetitive basis can increase your risk of injuring your shoulder. Weakly gripping the club or swinging the club too hard are examples of improper form. If you are unsure of the proper form, ask for guidance.
  • Be alert to possible overuse. If you start to feel some discomfort or pain while swinging, taking a break until the pain subsides will prove to be beneficial.  
  • Be sure to use the right equipment. Choosing a club with a length and weight that you are comfortable with and that is not too heavy to use on a regular basis can help prevent injury.


What are Common Golf Shoulder Injuries?

Perhaps you have been very diligent about taking all the necessary precautions. However, despite your best efforts, you believe you have a golf shoulder injury. If so, it would be beneficial to see a specialist to confirm the diagnosis. Common shoulder injuries that golfers experience can be found below.

  1. Rotator cuff tendonitis is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain related to golf. Tendonitis can be partial or more involved. The repetitive overuse can result in gradual degeneration of the tissue and injury. Complete tears detaching your rotator cuff from your bone can occur as well.
  2. Shoulder instability is another common shoulder injury that golfers may face. Due to excessive stretching or tearing, the ball of your shoulder joint can shift either partially or entirely out of the socket. This can cause pain and make your shoulder feel like it is just hanging there.  
  3. Frozen shoulder causes stiffness in your shoulder joint. Experiencing this condition can be quite painful and limits your range of motion.


Treatment Options for Golf Shoulder Pain

Treatment options will depend on the specific diagnosis causing the pain. We strive to use conservative treatments as much as possible before considering surgery. Some treatment options are as follows:


  1. Rotator Cuff Tendonitis — Conservative treatment for rotator cuff tendonitis can be a combination of stretching exercises, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory pain medications. If it is a partial tear, then a conservative treatment plan might be very effective in treating your injury as well. If it is a complete tear, rotator cuff surgery may be considered.
  2. Shoulder instability — Nonsurgical treatment includes physical therapy to strengthen your shoulder and assist in keeping it in its proper place. However, if your ligaments are stretched too far, surgery may be recommended to restore the stability of your joint.
  3. Frozen shoulder — Similarly, anti-inflammatory pain medication and physical therapy can be used to treat frozen shoulder.


Dealing with golf shoulder pain is no easy task. However, you do not have to do it alone. Our golf shoulder pain specialists at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow are ready to assist you! 

Schedule an appointment at one of our locations in Atlanta or Marietta, GA today. We look forward to helping you get back to the game you love as soon as possible!

Medically reviewed by

Bryan J. Sirmon, MD

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Plastic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon