Golf and the Foot

“Good foot action is the mark of an accomplished golfer. All timing, distance, and direction comes out of the lower body with the feet leading the way.” — Jack Nicklaus, Golf Legend

It is of vital importance to take good care of your feet to produce the best results on the golf course. Not only is there great need for motion in the feet during the swinging of a golf club, the average round of 18 holes entails several miles of walking.

The following are common foot conditions that may affect a golfer’s game: heel spurs, neuromas, metatarsalsiga, corns, callous, blisters, ingrown toe-nails, and many other painful conditions.

Common Injuries in the Golfer’s Foot
Heel Spur is an overuse injury that is associated with pain on the bottom of the heel. This can be treated with custom orthotics, stretching exercises, and cortisone injections.

Neuromas are an inflammation of the nerves between the metatarsal bones. The treatment consists of wider shoe gear, orthotics, injections, or in some cases removal by surgery.

Metatarsalsiga is pain across the ball of the foot. This is often caused by excessive pressure of a golf spike under the metatarsal. Sometimes removal of a spike or purchasing golf shoes that allow multiple spike placement helps with this condition. Other treatments include orthotics, padding, or medication. Corns and Callous are thickening of the skin on the foot. These are often caused by the pressure of a bone that is not properly aligned. Sometimes they are extremely painful. A podiatrist can often shave the corn or callous and pad the area to relieve the pain. If that does not work sometimes surgery is necessary.

Blisters are a common problem at the end of a round of golf. It is best to leave the blister alone. If pain persists see a podiatrist to have it drained and padded. Once driven by fashion, golf shoes were wing tip dress shoes with spikes. It is now accepted that golf shoes should be designed as an athletic shoe with spikes. Some golf shoes utilize advanced technological innovations that allow them to have increased support while remain light and flexible.

When purchasing a golf shoe it is important to follow a few rules:

  • Try on your new shoes after a round of golf or late in the day because feet are largest at these times.
  • Wear the socks that you will play golf in to try on the shoes.
  • Make sure that the shoe fits when you try it on. Shoes do not break in! If they don’t fit well in the store they will not fit well on the course. Soft stable materials should be used in construction and the shoe should be relatively light.
  • Check the fit by having one thumbnails length between the longest toe and the end of the shoe. The width should be checked at the ball of the foot and should be snug, but not tight.
  • The foot should sit deep enough in the shoe so that the heel and the mid-foot can not slip. The foot slipping can be a problem in golf because of all the side to side motion that is required.

The innovations in golf shoes over the last ten years have improved foot support, which could be worth a few strokes.

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