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Golf: Am I at risk for rib injuries?

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Playing golf can put one at risk for various grievances including rib injuries. Bruising around the ribs will make it difficult to perform a smooth golf swing. If an individual ends up with broken ribs, it is not only a sore injury but also dangerous. Bone that punctures or rips the lining of the lungs can result to life-threatening complications. It is recommended to allow a minor fracture or bruise to the rib to rest for several weeks but a doctor should be consulted so that proper diagnosis can be given.

Close look on the rib cage

Every rib is fragile but made flexible by the cartilage in the breastbone and in between the ribs. It enables it to take up shock and change position as the body moves. Remember that rib injuries vary from impact bruising or stress fractures.

If the individual accidentally strikes himself/herself with a club on the follow-through, a rib might end up bruised but this typically heals in a few days. A stress fracture occurs if excess force is placed on the ribs.

Why rib injuries occur in golf?

Rib injuries
Individuals who are new to the sport are likely to end up with a rib stress fracture from poor stretching, technique and overuse.

Rib injuries often occur due to repetitive and strenuous upper body movements such as consistent swinging and strong movement while playing the sport.

However, rib injuries are uncommon in golf. If an individual damages the ribs while playing golf, there is pain while swinging and even bruising in the area surrounding the affected rib.

What are the possible causes?

Individuals who are new to the sport are likely to end up with a rib stress fracture from poor stretching, technique and overuse. In the same way, the wrong equipment increases the risk for damaging the rib.


A severely bruised rib might require 1-2 weeks of rest before it fully heals. A minor fracture oftentimes heals in 3 weeks if the individual avoids lifting heavy objects or engaging in golf.

A serious fracture might require a rib protector cage that is used for up to 2 months. The doctor will also recommend rehabilitation exercises. Taking deep breaths should be done while injured since shallow breathing can result to pneumonia after a rib fracture.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on rib injuries in golf is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage muscle and bone injuries including rib injuries in golf, register for a first aid and CPR course with Red Deer First Aid.

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