The mechanics of your feet and the golf swing
During the golf swing the body acts as a whip, power production starts with the feet pushing against the ground. The foot pivots and provides intrinsic lateral movement to enable the hip to fully rotate around a fixed leg position. Each foot moves differently during a golf swing, the back foot must allow for more pronation during the follow through of the golf swing than the front foot.
The anatomy of a biomechanically sound swing goes like this: During set-up, your weight should be evenly distributed on both feet with slightly more weight on the forefoot as you lean over, and slightly more weight on the insides of both feet.
Maintenance of proper foot alignment on the back swing is critical for control of the downswing and contact position. During the back swing, weight should be shifted to the back foot. It should be evenly distributed on the back foot or maintained slightly on the inside. Shifting weight to the outside leaves you susceptible to the dreaded "sway," a common error in swing. Without an exact reversal of the sway in the downswing, swaying will result in improper contact with the ball.
As the back foot remains in a solid position on the back swing without any rolling to the outside, the front foot is in turn rolling to the inside. The front heel occasionally comes off the ground to promote a full shoulder turn. Completion of the back swing places the weight on the back foot, evenly distributed between forefoot and rear foot, with the weight left on the front foot rolling to the inside.
The downswing involves a rapid shift of weight from back to front foot; momentum brings the heel of the front foot down, and follow-though naturally causes a rolling of the back foot to the inside and the front foot to the outside. Golf should always be played from the insides of the feet.
Common Golfing Injuries
Lower Back Pain and stiffness in the back and neck are usually caused by the twisting motion of the golf swing as the shoulders rotate around the hips. This twisting of the torso in a coil fashion can put enormous pressure on the vertebrae, muscles and ligaments of the spine especially during the recovery phase. Indeed when one addresses the ball the bent back puts one in a most vulnerable position. Not surprisingly the US PGA cites lower back pain as the dominate golf injury. One of the most common causes of lower back pain is over pronation in the feet. Even a slight postural misalignment caused by over pronation can lead to back pain.
Inflammation of Arm Joints Swelling of the tissue around the joints is simply a symptom of over use especially when playing on hard surfaces. A good period of rest is the best medicine though physiotherapy can help to speed up recovery.
Knee Problems Inflammation or pain in the knees is caused by the twisting motion of the golf swing and sometimes by walking in ill fitting shoes. Rest is the best medicine. However, a re-evaluation of one's swing and orthotics can prevent this condition from occurring.
The Shin Pain in the muscles of the lower leg are usually caused by excessive walking after a period of inactivity. It can also be caused by over pronation in the feet putting excessive pressure on the lower leg. Orthotics and insoles are a ideal treatment option.
The Foot Painful feet are common amongst golfers. Common conditions include:
Heel Pain - This condition is also known as plantar fascitis and commonly occurs due to excessive pronation in the feet. Golfers will often complain of pain when first rising in the morning and after periods of rest. Pain will be located in the center of the heel.
Metatarsalgia - This term refers to any pain in the fore foot region. This can be caused due or corns, hard skin or bony pain.
Morton's Neuroma - Inflammation of the nerve in between the metatarsal's (bones at the sole of the foot) occurs. This can be very painful for golfers who walk around the fairway.
Tendonitis - Inflammation of the tendon that runs along the arch region. This is a common golfing injury as the foot can be placed under excessive pressure during the golf swing.
Orthotics / Insoles and Golfing Injuries
Insoles allow a golfer's body to establish a better point of contact with the ground when executing a golf swing. They will also stabilize your feet, evenly redistribute weight and correct your entire body posture during the golf swing. Recent research published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reports that 71% of participants felt there balance was improved while using orthotics and playing golf. An impressive 50% felt that they were hitting the ball harder and 38% of participants reported a lower golf score while using orthotics. This research suggests that Insoles can help golfers improve balance, hit the ball harder and obtain a lower golf score.
Insoles also prevent and treat a variety of painful injuries that can affect your concentration and ultimately your golfing handicap. Bringing painful knees, legs, feet or an aching lower back to the fairway can prevent you from playing to the best of your golfing potential!