One of the unmistakeable and non-negotiable parts of being a baby-boomer is dealing with aches, pains, and injuries. How many times have we all said, “If I only knew then what I know now.” One of those many “only knew then” facts is that injuries take longer to heal the older I get. I bet that goes for you, also.
I was a pretty good athlete growing up, and I remember having my share of sprained ankles, torn ligaments and the like. And I remember thinking, “When I get older, I’ll be in good shape and it won’t take me long to heal when I get older.”
I’ve had six surgeries with a seventh on the horizon. Three knee surgeries, L5 ruptured disc in my back, and two hip replacements. And a probable knee replacement is around the corner. Recovery time from each of them has been longer than the one before, and it has nothing to do with “being in shape.” It has everything to do with what age does to all of us.
And unfortunately, the older we get, the more body parts wear out.
Playing Golf While Hurt
One of the great things about golf is the opportunity to play when you are hurt, or even disabled. The game allows you the ability to compensate. You can shorten your backswing. You can flatten, or steepen, your swing to ease a back problem. Before I had the two hip replacements, I could tee my ball up by gritting my teeth and bending down with that knife in my hips for a second or two. But I couldn’t get the ball out of the cup, I just couldn’t bend down that far. I always had a golf partner who could do it for me, though.
I can’t think of another sport where I would be able to participate when I hurt that much. Just golf.
Things To Do When You’re Hurt
Go See a Doc
Pretty common sense advice, but too many of us don’t do it. And most males don’t like seeing a doctor. So we wait until something is so painful we can’t see straight before we go. I’d recommend to not do that. Your back hurts, your hip hurts, your knee hurts…see a doctor before it hurts worse. Rest and ice might solve your knee issue. Walking and working out harder might injure it to a point you will need surgery.
Try a Chiropractor and/or Massage
Loosening up muscles and joints that are tight, or bound up, can’t help but make you feel better. A massage therapist can really loosen up any back problem. The PGA Tour has both a massage therapist and Chiropractor available at every tour stop. That’s no accident, and if it makes sense for the pros, it makes sense for you and me.
There are multiple websites and YouTube videos that extol the virtues of stretching. Again, every tour professional goes through an extensive stretching regimen on a daily basis, and again before they tee off. Stretching is something I don’t do nearly enough of, and I bet you don’t either.
You may be committed to walking, and I have been also, particularly this year. We joined a club that had a (well-deserved) reputation for a membership that walked. But with this knee, I can’t. Again, golf is one of those sports that allows for accommodations, and a golf cart is one of them. If you can’t walk 18, walk 9 and ride 9. If you can’t walk 9, take a cart and walk as much as you can.
Listen To Your Body
I’ve outlined some of the disadvantages of growing older and dealing with injuries. However, there is a major advantage: We know our bodies so much better than we did when we were young. I know the difference between a severe injury and a minor one. I know when I’ve pulled a muscle, which means taking a few days off to let it heal, and when I’ve twinged a ligament or popped something that is more significant.
My advice is to trust your instinct. You almost always inherently know what you’ve done and when something is a bad enough injury that it needs medical attention. When that happens, go to the first item on the list- the doctor- and get it checked out.
I hope each of you is injury free and playing your best. But if not, get yourself healed.
And Enjoy Shooting Your Age!