Finger Pain from Golf: Common Injuries, Prevention Tips, and Effective Treatments

Colin McCarthy

finger pain from golf

Golf is a beloved sport that combines skill, precision, and a touch of relaxation. But what happens when finger pain starts to interfere with your game?

If you’ve noticed discomfort, stiffness, or even a painful clicking sensation in your fingers, you might be dealing with a condition known as golf trigger finger.

Trigger finger causes painful locking and snapping of the finger or thumb, making it difficult to move. Ignoring the early warning signs can lead to more severe symptoms, including the inability to fully straighten your affected finger.

The good news is, by adapting your technique and paying attention to your body’s signals, you can prevent and manage this condition effectively.

Let’s dive into what causes this pesky injury and how you can keep your fingers pain-free on the green.

Finger Pain from Golf

Experiencing finger pain from golf can be frustrating and may affect your game.

Here are some tips to help alleviate and prevent finger pain:

Causes of Finger Pain in Golfers

Finger pain in golfers often originates from repetitive strain or improper grip techniques. Continuous swings and the force of club impacts can lead to conditions like trigger finger, where fingers may lock or snap painfully.

Previous hand injuries can also exacerbate these symptoms. Another common cause is golfers’ elbow, where pain radiates from the elbow to the hand, affecting finger mobility.

  • Repetitive Strain: Continuous swings increase strain on ligaments and tendons in fingers.
  • Improper Grip: Poor grip technique can contribute to tendon irritation and pain.
  • Previous Injuries: Past hand injuries make fingers more susceptible to pain.
  • Golfers’ Elbow: Pain extends from the elbow to affect finger movement.

When dealing with golf-related finger injuries, you’ll experience several common symptoms. Difficulty bending or straightening the fingers is often the first sign.

A small lump may develop at the base of the affected finger, accompanied by stiffness and pain that can extend from the fingers to the hand. Clicking or snapping noises when moving the finger are also common, indicating trigger finger.

  • Difficulty Moving: Challenges in bending or straightening fingers.
  • Small Lump: Lump formation at the base of the affected finger.
  • Stiffness: Reduced flexibility in affected fingers.
  • Pain: Pain localized in the fingers, potentially radiating to the hand.
  • Clicking Sounds: Audible clicks or snaps while moving the affected finger.

Common Golf Finger Injuries

Common finger injuries in golf often result from overuse, improper technique, or sudden trauma.

Here are some of the most typical golf-related finger injuries:

Golf Trigger Finger

Golf trigger finger is a prevalent injury among golfers. This condition arises when the flexor tendon sheath in your finger becomes inflamed, limiting smooth movement.

Symptoms include difficulty bending or straightening the finger, pain, and a clicking or snapping sound. Repetitive gripping and swinging are common causes.

Effective treatments range from rest and anti-inflammatory medications to physical therapy and, in severe cases, surgery. Wearing supportive gloves and using proper grip techniques can help prevent recurrence.


Tendonitis, another frequent golf-related injury, involves inflammation of tendons in the wrist and hand due to overuse. It leads to pain, swelling, and decreased movement.

Treatments typically involve rest, splinting, anti-inflammatory medications, and sometimes cortisone injections if initial treatments fail.

Proper warm-up exercises and using ergonomically designed golf clubs can help prevent tendonitis. Additionally, consulting a healthcare professional for personalized advice is always recommended.

Hook of the Hamate Fracture

The hook of the hamate fracture is a less common but significant injury. This small wrist bone can break when a club strikes the ground or during intense gripping.

Symptoms include pain and tenderness on the pinky side of the wrist. Diagnosis generally requires imaging, and treatment often involves immobilization, rest, and in some cases, surgery.

Prevention strategies include properly warming up, using equipment that fits well, and practicing good swing mechanics. Regularly strengthening wrist and hand muscles can also reduce the risk of such injuries.

Preventive Measures for Golf Finger Pain

Preventing finger pain in golf involves a combination of proper technique, equipment considerations, physical conditioning, and injury prevention strategies.

Here are some preventive measures you can take:

Proper Golf Techniques

Using proper golf techniques significantly reduces the risk of finger pain. Ensure your grip is neither too tight nor too loose, maintaining a balance that allows control without strain.

Avoid using your fingers to grip excessively. Instead, use the entire hand to distribute pressure evenly. Always warm up thoroughly before playing.

Stretching your hands, wrists, and fingers can prepare your muscles and joints for the repetitive motions of golf. Consider consulting a GolfPro.

They can provide personalized advice on swing mechanics and club grip adjustments, minimizing strain on your fingers.

Equipment Adjustments

Investing in proper equipment tailored to your body type and playing style can help mitigate finger pain. Ensure your golf clubs are the correct size and weight.

Clubs that are too heavy or light can lead to improper grip and increased strain. Check your golf grips regularly. Worn-out grips can force you to grip tighter, leading to discomfort.

Use grips that match your hand size. For example, larger grips can reduce the strain on your fingers if you have bigger hands.

Finally, consider using gloves for added support and to improve your grip, reducing the likelihood of finger injuries.

Treating golf-related finger pain typically involves a combination of rest, self-care measures, and medical interventions.

Here are some treatment options you can consider:

Home Remedies and Exercises

Home remedies and exercises can alleviate mild golf-related finger pain. Rest is crucial; reducing playing time or taking a short break allows the inflammation to subside.

Ice packs applied to the affected area for 15-20 minutes several times a day can reduce swelling. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen help manage pain and inflammation.

Simple exercises can strengthen the muscles and tendons in your fingers and hands. Stretching and strengthening routines such as finger extensions, flexor tendon gliding exercises, and wrist flexor stretches improve flexibility and reduce stiffness.

Gentle massage with a soft foam roller or ball can also enhance blood circulation and promote healing.

When to Seek Professional Help

Seek professional help if home remedies and exercises are ineffective or if the pain persists after a few weeks. Continuous pain, swelling, numbness, or a reduced range of motion requires medical attention.

A physician can evaluate the severity of the injury and recommend appropriate treatments like physical therapy, cortisone injections, or in severe cases, surgical intervention.

Persistent finger pain may indicate an underlying condition like trigger finger or tendonitis, necessitating specialized care. Early diagnosis and targeted treatments help prevent further damage and facilitate quicker recovery.

Aside from finger injuries, golfers may experience a range of other injuries, often due to the repetitive motions and physical demands of the sport.

Here are some common golf-related injuries:

Hand Injuries

Hand injuries are common among golfers, resulting from repetitive movements and improper grip. One such injury is Hypothenar Hammer Syndrome, which occurs when the main artery in the hand suffers damage from repeated striking.

This condition causes pain, numbness, and reduced blood flow. Another frequent injury is a fracture of the hook of the hamate, a small bone in the wrist that can get fractured by the impact of the club.

Wrist Injuries

Wrist injuries often emerge from overuse and improper swing mechanics. Tendonitis is the inflammation of tendons caused by repetitive stress on the wrist.

Symptoms include pain, swelling, and reduced wrist function. De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, another common wrist injury, involves inflammation of the tendons at the thumb side of the wrist, resulting in pain and difficulty moving the thumb.

Elbow Injuries

Elbow injuries, such as lateral epicondylitis, also known as “tennis elbow,” result from repeated strain on the elbow tendons.

This condition is characterized by pain on the outer side of the elbow and often occurs in the lead arm of golfers.

Medial epicondylitis, or “golfer’s elbow,” affects the inner side of the elbow and results from similar repetitive motions.

Both these conditions generally get treated with rest, physical therapy, and NSAIDs. In persistent cases, cortisone injections or surgery may be necessary.

Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries frequently arise from the repetitive overhead movements and powerful swings involved in golf. Rotator cuff injuries occur when the tendons and muscles around the shoulder joint get inflamed or torn.

Symptoms include pain, weakness, and reduced range of motion. Shoulder impingement, where shoulder blade rubs against the rotator cuff, is another common issue causing pain and restricted movement.

These injuries typically require rest, physical therapy, and sometimes surgical intervention if conservative treatments fail.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my finger hurt when I play golf?

Golfers often experience finger pain due to repetitive gripping and swinging of the club. This can lead to conditions like golf trigger finger, which is characterized by inflammation and discomfort in the tendons.

How to fix trigger finger?

Most cases of trigger finger can be managed through conservative measures like rest, using a splint, or corticosteroid injections. Surgery may be necessary if these treatments don’t provide relief.

What can be mistaken for trigger finger?

Conditions like Cubital Tunnel Syndrome and Dupuytren’s Contracture can sometimes be mistaken for trigger finger because they also cause the finger to be stuck in a bent position.

How do I protect my hands when golfing?

To protect your hands while golfing, ensure proper grip technique. The heel pad of the lead hand should sit on top of the “V” formed between your thumb and forefinger, pointing towards your trail shoulder.

How do you stretch your fingers for golf?

To stretch your fingers, squeeze them hard for five seconds until your knuckles turn white, then flick them rapidly upward and outward. Hold this position to stretch the muscles at the back of your hands.


Finger pain from golf isn’t something to ignore. Early recognition and treatment of injuries like golf trigger finger and tendonitis can make a significant difference in your recovery.

Remember to pay attention to your body’s signals and take action when you notice symptoms. Proper technique and rest are crucial for preventing further damage.

If your pain persists, don’t hesitate to seek professional medical advice. By taking these steps, you can enjoy your favorite sport without compromising your health.

Additionally, consider incorporating strength and flexibility exercises into your routine to support joint health. Equipment adjustments, such as using grips and gloves designed to reduce strain, can also be beneficial.

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Colin McCarthy

Golf is about mastering your misses and learning from them. I seek answers on the how and why of the golf swing, gaining experience even when answers elude me. With over 11,000 hours of teaching and a hunger for learning, I welcome any questions. My goal is to introduce golf to as many as possible, simplifying the game for all to enjoy. Passionate, eager, and ambitious, I'm here to teach, listen, and learn. LinkedIn

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