As this year’s Master’s Tournament wraps up, you may be itching to get out and play nine holes. Fortunately, an osteoarthritis(OA) diagnosis doesn’t have to stop you. While OA is a chronic joint disease that causes pain and stiffness, some simple adjustments can be made to help keep you in the game.

Golf is associated with many physical benefits such as improved balance and coordination, increased physical strength, and better range of motion. When you have OA, it all starts with preparation. Adapting your gear can help a lot when it comes to pain management. Stay in the know and ask your local golf specialty store or pro shop for tips on the latest equipment that may help with joint pain. Use lightweight clubs and only take the clubs that you’ll need for the day. Taking any extra weight out of your golf bag can really help.

Wear good quality shoes to the course that have extra cushioning. If you plan to walk the course, this is especially important. You may also find that you fare better by taking a cart around the course. Don’t forget to think about your tees! Using longer tees allow you to stand taller and lessen your chances of hitting the ground with your club, which can be painful on joints.

Once you get to the course and are ready to play, it’s time to stretch it out! Simple range-of-motion exercises can make a huge difference in preventing injury and even affecting your score. Swinging a golf club puts a lot of extra force on hips and knees, one the most common places for OA to pop up. When it comes to your swing, a classic swing is best for minimizing back pain. As you follow through and finish, your spine should be as vertical as possible in order to reduce any extra load on the lower back.

While osteoarthritis can be a pain, it doesn’t mean giving up the pastimes you love. If you or someone you love is struggling to manage symptoms associated with osteoarthritis, local studies for potential new treatment options are enrolling now. Those that qualify have access to potential new osteoarthritis treatments and are cared for by board-certified physicians. Qualified participants may also be compensated for time and travel expenses. Learn more about this new research opportunity by clicking HERE.