Let’s be honest, golfers are addicts (I’m the same!), so they want to keep playing as much as possible. When injured, the most frequent question I’m asked is ‘is playing with pain ok!?’.
Unfortunately, my answer depends!! If we use a very simple pain scale of 0-10/10, I’m always happy with golfers (this applies to other sports too!) continuing to play if their pain doesn’t go above 4-5/10 during or after their round. It has to be manageable. This isn’t necessarily trying to stop an injury becoming structurally worse (because with most injuries it won’t), it’s trying to prevent pain worsening and then becoming a bigger problem in day-day life. We also want the injury resolving alongside physio so if the pain spikes above 5/10 all the time, we have to spend time calming it down which prolongs the recovery.
Modifying the volume of balls hit or type of shots/ clubs used is always a key management strategy when it comes to pain with golfers. I would usually advise being guided by pain and hitting a max of 10 balls per club on the range starting at 50-150yards. If there’s no pain reaction then we can advance to 200yards and so-on. I would also empower the golfer to use this time to work on their short-game too as this saves a huge number of shots on the course, and is less likely to cause pain.
If pain is close to 10/10 when you’re playing then we need to investigate the injury further and rest from golf may be necessary in the short term.
Also, if a fracture of any kind has been diagnosed then periods of rest are paramount for recovery.