Four common foot problems that may affect your golf swing?

Golf is an excellent form of exercises.  As it is a non-contact sport, it has a relatively low risk of injury.  Like any sport, injuries do happen.  Foot and ankle injuries are the third most common injury (after back and wrist & elbow) and account for 12.9% of golfing injuries.  Injuries more common in men than in women.

It’s all about the swing.

Over 46% of golf injuries happen during the golf swing.  Repetitive actions cause most.  When damage does occur, over 60% of those injured will eventually seek medical attention

 

Stress fracture 

Repetitive sporting activities can cause a stress fracture.  Pain is initially very mild. Altering or stopping the repetitive action prevents the pain from getting worse.  Often you will notice that your shoes become tighter, due to swelling that accompanies stress fractures.

Lateral ligament injuries

Twisting your ankle during your golf swing can cause injury to the ligaments on the outside of either ankle.  Warm-up properly to prevent damage to the soft tissues.

RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) will settle most injuries.  Ankle braces can be helpful.  Analysis of your swing and gait analysed may reveal increased force on the ligaments.  Physiotherapy can help.  You should get any persistent pain or instability that frequently affects your swing checked out.  A scan will show how bad the damage to the ligaments is.

Chronic injuries that have plateaued can benefit from keyhole surgery and reconstruction of the ligaments.

Painful arch

The ‘power drive’ can put significant downward force on the inside of the ankle and midfoot of the lead leg.  The pressure can cause pain on the inside of the foot or ankle during your golf swing.  Repetitive injury to two of the structures that help support the arch of the foot, the posterior tibial tendon (PTT) and the Spring ligament, can be damaged, resulting in pain and a limp.

Ankle Arthritis

A previous ankle injury usually causes this. It is most common in people between 50 – 65. Using a golf buggy can reduce the amount of walking that you need to do. Pain, particularly going up hills or playing the bunkers, maybe an early sign of wear and tear. Custom insoles can help. For more advanced disease, Total Ankle Replacement (TAR) or Ankle Fusion may be an option.