GripGolf Basics

Pinky Hurts From Golf Grip? Causes and Solutions

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Pinky pain is a common golf injury caused by poor grip technique, overuse, and medical conditions. This article explores the causes of pinky hurts from golf grip and provides solutions to prevent and address them through proper form, rest, medical treatment, equipment fitting, exercises, and recognizing when to seek help. Follow these tips to overcome pinky pain and improve your golf game.

Golf is a popular sport played by over 25 million people in the United States alone. One of the most important elements of a good golf game is proper grip technique. However, many golfers struggle with pain in their pinky finger caused by an improper golf grip. This discomfort can range from mild nuisance to severe pain that inhibits playing ability.

Pinky pain from golf grip is a common affliction for amateur and professional golfers alike. The pinky plays a critical role in providing stability and support for the golf club handle. When excessive pressure or improper technique is applied to this finger during a swing, it can result in strain, inflammation, and even nerve damage in some cases. This can be an incredibly frustrating issue that prevents golfers from playing to the best of their ability.

The causes of pinky pain from golf grip are multi-faceted. Problems like tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and arthritis can all lead to discomfort in the pinky finger joints and surrounding musculoskeletal tissue. Additionally, issues like using an incorrectly sized grip, poor grip technique, and simply overusing the pinky to stabilize the club can bring on pain over time. Even highly experienced golfers can suffer from pinky pain if they do not maintain proper form.

Fortunately, with some adjustments to equipment, technique, and care, pinky pain caused by golf grip can often be treated or prevented altogether. This article will examine the various causes of pinky hurts from golf grip and provide solutions golfers can implement to alleviate this issue. Key topics covered will include:

  • Common medical conditions leading to pinky pain
  • How improper golf grip technique contributes to discomfort
  • The role of inappropriate golf club sizing and worn grips
  • Methods for treating existing pinky pain, including rest, medical treatment, and exercises
  • Technique adjustments and preventive measures to avoid future pinky pain

By understanding what causes pain in the pinky finger when gripping a golf club and learning techniques to prevent and treat this pain, golfers can get back to enjoying their favorite sport pain-free. With some minor adjustments and awareness, pinky pain does not have to inhibit any golfer’s game. This guide will explore these causes and solutions in-depth to provide golfers with the tips and knowledge they need to keep their pinky pain-free on the course.

Causes of Pinky Pain from Golf Grip

Several potential causes of pinky pain occur specifically when gripping a golf club. Understanding the source of the discomfort is key to alleviating it. Common causes include improper grip technique, overuse, underlying medical conditions, and inappropriate golf club sizing and wear.

Improper Grip Technique

One of the most frequent causes of pinky pain from golf grip is improper technique when holding the club. Even minor issues with grip can put excessive strain on the pinky finger over time, resulting in inflammation, tendonitis, and other discomfort. Here are some specific elements of improper grip technique that often lead to pinky pain:

Gripping Too Tight

Gripping the club too forcefully is a major contributor to pinky pain. When golfers squeeze too tightly, the pinky ends up bearing the brunt of the force. This extra pressure makes the finger work harder to stabilize and support the club, which can strain the tendons and joints. Over time, this strain can build up and cause chronic pain. It helps to be mindful of grip pressure and aim for a firm but relaxed grip.

Curling Pinky Finger Under Club

Another technical error some golfers make is allowing their pinky finger to curl underneath the golf club handle. This twists the finger into an unnatural position, forcing it to support the weight of the club at an odd angle. It also compresses the finger against the grip’s underside, which can pinch nerves and tendons. Keeping the pinky in a neutral position aligned with the rest of the fingers helps avoid excess strain.

Poor Wrist Alignment

Faulty alignment of the wrists is another aspect of improper technique that impacts the pinky finger. If the wrists are bent too far forward or backward, the hand will not connect with the club in an optimal position. This misalignment places more stress on certain fingers to compensate, including the pinky. A neutral wrist posture reduces the balancing burden on the pinky when swinging.


In some cases, pinky pain stems from overworking the finger during play rather than flaws in the grip technique itself. When golfers play too much without giving their hands time to rest and recover, the pinky can become overstressed from the repetitive nature of gripping and swinging the club.

Playing Too Much Golf Without Rest

Golfing for multiple days in a row or several rounds in one day can cause fatigue and strain in the hands, especially the pinky. The tendons and joints need adequate time after gameplay to recover before taking on that strenuous activity again. Overdoing it without periods of rest makes the area prone to inflammation or even tissue damage.

Aggressive Swinging

Swinging the club forcefully and aggressively on a frequent basis also contributes to overuse pinky pain. The harder and faster the club is swung, the more stress is placed on the stabilizing pinky. Too much high-intensity play overworks the finger, making it more susceptible to pain and injury.

Medical Conditions

Underlying medical issues involving the hands and wrists are the root cause of pinky pain when golfing. Several conditions can flare up or worsen due to the repetitive motions involved in swinging a golf club, like tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.


Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons, often caused by repetitive strain or trauma. There are two main types that impact the pinky finger in golfers:

  • Tendinitis in the finger tendons – The tendons connecting the pinky finger to the hand can become irritated and inflamed, causing localized pain in the finger.
  • Golfer’s elbow tendonitis – This form of tendonitis flares up where the forearm tendons attach to the inner elbow. It can radiate pain down to the wrist and pinky.

DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis

This condition involves painful irritation of the tendon sheath around the thumb and pinky side of the wrist. It limits the smooth gliding of the tendons, which can make golfing painful.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is compression of the median nerve as it passes through the wrist, causing numbness, tingling, and pain in the hand. It may produce symptoms in the pinky finger.

Fractures in Carpal Bones

The carpal bones of the wrist can fracture for various reasons. Depending on the location, small fractures in these bones may irritate surrounding tendons and nerves, producing pinky pain.

Poor Equipment Fit

The size and condition of the golf club components themselves can also play a role in pinky pain. Ill-fitting grips and worn-out grips do not provide adequate support during play.

Grips Too Small or Large

Using a golf grip that is too narrow or too wide for the golfer’s hand size can lead to pinky pain. Grips that are too small pinch the pinky, while oversized grips allow excess wrist and hand movement that strains the finger’s supportive role.

Old Worn Grips

Letting grips wear out before replacing them causes problems as well. The traction starts to fail, which forces the pinky to work harder controlling the club. Smooth worn grips also allow the hand to shift more during the swing, contributing to pinky strain.

Replacing worn grips and confirming proper grip size helps take unnecessary pressure off the pinky finger. Golfers experiencing frequent pinky pain may benefit from reassessing their interlocking putter grip and making adjustments as needed.

Solutions for Preventing Pinky Pain

While pinky pain from golf grip can be frustrating, there are many ways golfers can help prevent and address this issue proactively. Implementing proper grip techniques, allowing time for rest, seeking medical treatment, using appropriate equipment, and doing preventive exercises are all effective solutions.

Proper Grip Technique

Reassessing grip technique and making adjustments is one of the best lines of defense against pinky pain. Here are some tips for using proper technique to avoid placing excess strain on the pinky:

Firm but Relaxed Grip

The ideal golf grip applies just enough pressure to control the club effectively while still keeping tension to a minimum. Overgripping is a major contributor to pinky issues. Being mindful of grip pressure and periodically shaking out the hands helps find the sweet spot between too loose and too tight.

Position Pinky Finger Naturally

When placing the hands on the grip, the pinky should fall into a natural, neutral position in line with the ring finger. Avoid curling it under the grip or angling it awkwardly. This proper finger placement better distributes tension across the fingers.

Neutral Wrist Alignment

The wrists should bend slightly forward, not pointing up or curling under. This neutral wrist posture allows the arms, hands, and club to work in sync for a fluid, balanced swing. Correct wrist alignment helps take undue pressure off the pinky during the swing motion.

Tweaking the grip to get these elements right can make a big difference in preventing pinky pain. Those experiencing frequent discomfort may want to explore adjusting their double overlap golf grip as well.

Allow Time for Rest and Recovery

Giving the pinky adequate rest is also key to avoiding overuse-related pain. Adhere to the following tips:

Take Regular Rest Days

Avoid playing more than 3-4 days consecutively. Schedule days off from golf in between play days to give the hands time to heal and strengthen.

Avoid Overplaying Through Pain

If pain flares up during a round, stop playing to avoid further damaging the pinky. Don’t try to play through moderate or severe discomfort.

Ice After Playing

Icing the pinky for 10-15 minutes after golfing reduces inflammation and helps the joint, tendons, and muscles recover faster.

Medical Treatment

If pinky pain persists or worsens, it is wise to seek professional medical assessment and care. A doctor can provide appropriate treatment such as:


Seeing a doctor helps determine if an underlying condition like arthritis or carpal tunnel is causing the pain. Proper diagnosis is the first step toward targeted treatment.


For severe cases, temporary splinting of the finger or wrist helps calm inflammation by immobilizing the area.

Physical Therapy

Supervised exercises, stretches, and modalities like ultrasound can help rehabilitate and strengthen the pinky and supporting tissues.

Use Proper Equipment

It’s also important to ensure golf equipment properly fits the player’s hands and is in good working order. Recommendations include:

Fit Grips to Hand Size

Get fitted by a professional to determine optimal grip size based on hand measurements. Grips that are too small or large will strain the pinky.

Replace Worn Grips

Inspect grips regularly and replace any that are worn, smooth, or compromised. Fresh grips provide better friction and control.

Do Preventive Exercises

Simple hand and wrist exercises help prevent pinky pain by strengthening tissues, increasing flexibility, and stabilizing joints. Try these suggestions:

Warm Up Before Play

Take 5-10 minutes to warm up before tee time by stretching and massaging the hands and wrists. This enhances circulation and range of motion.

Stretch After Play

After play, gently stretch the hands, fingers, and wrists in all directions to help muscles relax. This reduces stiffness which can lead to pain.

Strengthening Exercises

Exercises using light resistance bands or putty regularly can help reinforce muscles that support the pinky and wrist. Consult a physical therapist for the most effective strengthening routines.

When to Seek Medical Care

Even with preventive measures, seek prompt medical help for pinky pain if:

  • Pain persists for more than a few days after rest
  • Signs of injury like swelling, bruising, or deformity
  • Numbness, tingling, or loss of strength in the pinky finger or hand

Addressing pinky discomfort proactively and utilizing proper techniques and care can help golfers avoid having to give up the sport they love. Implementing some of these solutions assists in keeping pinky pain at bay.


Pinky pain and discomfort caused by golf grip is an extremely common problem that impacts recreational and professional golfers alike. The causes are diverse, ranging from flawed grip technique and overuse to underlying medical conditions and inappropriate equipment fit. Luckily, by being aware of the potential causes and utilizing the right solutions, golfers can overcome this frustrating issue.

The techniques involved in proper golf grip, such as a relaxed hold, natural pinky position, and neutral wrist posture, are foundational for avoiding undue strain on the pinky. Gripping too tightly, improperly aligning wrists, and curling the pinky can all lead to pain over time. Being mindful about grip pressure and positioning helps sidestep these risks.

However, even proper technique cannot completely prevent discomfort if golfers overwork the pinky and hands by playing too much, too aggressively, or without adequate rest. Allowing recovery time in between rounds and avoiding overuse play through existing pain gives the pinky a respite to heal. Icing after gameplay helps control inflammation as well.

Underlying medical conditions like tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome may also heighten golfers’ susceptibility to pinky pain. Getting a professional diagnosis and following the recommended treatment plan provides the best solution when dealing with these issues. This may involve splinting, therapy, or other interventions.

Beyond flawless form and rest, preventing pinky pain also requires using equipment that fits the player’s body appropriately. Grips that are too narrow or wide for a golfer’s hands, or those that are worn and slick, do not sufficiently support the pinky through demanding swings.

Finally, taking preventive measures like targeted warm-up and strengthening exercises enhances the pinky’s conditioning and resilience against repetitive stress from golfing. Even well-trained golfers should be attentive to any signs of persisting pain or injury in the pinky and seek prompt medical attention when concerned.

With knowledge of proper technique, care in managing frequency of play, appropriate medical treatment when necessary, equipment fine-tuning, conditioning exercises, and vigilant self-monitoring, golfers can keep frustrating pinky pain at bay. A few simple adjustments and preventive actions can allow golfers to enjoy the game discomfort-free and play to the best of their ability, unhindered by pinky pain.

Andrew is a 38 year old golf enthusiast turned instructor from Chicago. For the past 7 years he has offered private golf lessons, helping students refine their skills. Andrew shares his passion for golf through instructional articles for

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