Doctor urges 'weekend warriors' to beware of nagging injuries

Jun 10, 2024

WORCESTER, Mass. – After a long stretch of nice weather, people are returning to summertime hobbies like golf, hiking or tennis, but if you haven’t been very active lately, those pastimes come with an injury risk.

What You Need To Know

  • Summertime hobbies like golf, hiking or tennis can carry a risk of injury for people who haven't been active regularly
  • Dr. Stephen Desio of Saint Vincent Hospital said common injuries include rotator cuff injuries, knee pain, golf or tennis elbow and achilles tendonitis
  • Golf and pickleball enthusiasts said people who remain active into old age often accompany their outdoor hobbies with other physical activity to ensure their body can handle the stress
  • If you begin to feel injured during your weekend activities, it’s best to see a doctor before you decide to try being active again

Dr. Stephen Desio, an orthopedic surgeon with Saint Vincent Hospital, said if you spend all week at a desk job and then ramp up your activity suddenly every weekend, you’re likely going to feel the strain.

"You may convince yourself that your body hasn’t changed much since high school, but you can be certain it has,” Desio said. “Even a few extra pounds can put undue stress on joints and ligaments, resulting in pain you haven’t experienced before.”

Aaron Walker, an assistant golf professional at Worcester Country Club, has taken classes with the Titleist Performance Institute, which teaches instructors nationwide how to swing a golf club in the most efficient way for a student. He’s seen plenty of golfers try to power through tendonitis, a bad back or a wrist injury.

“Nobody goes to see their physical therapist usually, and they start to swing the club around that,” Walker said. “They start to compensate, and their body will naturally do things to overcome and just swing pain free. And that cause and effect leads to poor mechanics and gosh, keep peeling the onion away. Could be anything.”

Walker said older golfers at the Worcester Country Club offer a good example of what’s possible if you take care of yourself.

“We have a lot of great golfers that are in their 70s and 80s and they are always in the gym. And it's nothing high impact, it's nothing crazy, but they're doing something,” Walker said. “They understand that in order for them to continue with their passion, which is this golf course, they have to do some daily basic movement.”

According to Desio, the 10 most common injuries for ‘weekend warriors’ to look out for include rotator cuff injuries, knee pain, golf or tennis elbow, achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, sprained ankles and shin splints.

Even down the road from Worcester Country Club at Route 12 pickleball in West Boylston, the comparatively less risky sport still carries some injury risks without proper preparation.

“This is, for the most part, because of the age demographic of the type of people that are playing today. They're mid-50s and up,” said Ben Minsk, the facility’s owner. “A lot of people have arthritis and this exacerbates their arthritis. And so more often than not, as they continue to play hurt or injured, they're very strong candidates for knee and hip replacements.”

If you begin to feel injured during your weekend activities, it’s best to see a doctor before you decide to try being active again.

“If there is an acute injury, like a rolled ankle, or a sudden pop in your knee, those are worth being evaluated by a physician,” said Desio. “Other conditions that merit a visit to the physician include gradual or chronic pain, especially if the pain is persistent and has been present more than a couple of weeks. An injury is also worth being evaluated if the pain or discomfort keeps you from doing day-to-day activities, keeps you up at night, you notice significant swelling or have an altered gait such as a limp.”

Read the full article and view video here.

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