Over the past month, I have been taking golf lessons every couple weeks. One thing I quickly learned was how much movement has to occur through the feet in order to efficiently perform a golf swing. As a personal trainer and Muscle Activation Techniques™ specialist in Schaumburg, I often consult with golfers who are having knee, hip, and back issues. Rarely, however, do I consult with golfers who are complaining of foot issues. This leads me to believe that (a) their feet are actually fine and their issues are elsewhere, or (b) they have a significant case of “golfer’s foot” and their discomforts are being caused by foot issues.
**“Golfer’s foot” is not a real diagnosis by medical standards. In fact, it is a term that I just made up. Since I am in no way licensed to make medical diagnoses, I am simply using this made up term to highlight a point.**
When you perform the backswing, there may be some motion that takes place through your feet. The majority of the motion during that time will likely be coming from your trunk and hips. However, as you begin the downward part of your swing and then the follow-through, there should be a lot of motion happening through your feet.
Specifically, your front foot will be supinating quite a bit (creating a big arch). Your back foot will be plantarflexing around your talocrural axis (your ankle) as well as around your first ray axis (the long bone on the inside of your foot plus your first cuneiform). If you do not have sufficient motion through your feet, you will be forced to pick up motion through other joints during your swing. The areas needing to pick up motion will most likely be your knees, hips, and lumbar spine.
So, what is “golfer’s foot”? Again, it is a term I made up and is in no way a medical diagnosis. I am using this term to describe the idea that if your feet cannot move well when you golf, you may start to experience issues at others joints. These other joints are having to compensate for the lack of sufficient motion in your feet.
Given the number of times you are swinging during a round of golf, the velocity at which you are moving, and the frequency with which an avid golfer hits the links, it is no wonder that there are a ton of knee, hip, and back issues in golf. Furthermore, most footwear tries to prevent motion from occurring through the feet. This has the potential to amplify the issue even more.
What can be done about “golfer’s foot”? First, I recommend getting your feet evaluated by a professional who has experience assessing motion through the feet. Second, if your motion is limited, I recommend having the professional discuss different strengthening exercises that you can do for your feet. Finally, I recommend connecting with a local MAT™ Specialist so you can get your entire body evaluated.
The MAT™ Specialist will be able to do three things: 1) Figure out which muscles in your feet are not working well and are limiting the motion in your feet; 2) Figure out where else your body has been compromised because of limited foot motion; 3) Address each of these areas to ensure that the motion through these joints is, not only sufficient, but more importantly, well-supported by an efficiently-contracting muscular system.
At the end of the day, whether you are an avid golfer or just enjoy hitting balls at the range, your feet have to be able to move well in order for your swing to be efficient. If your foot motion is limited in any manner, this will cause you to pick up motion through other joints. While this is a relatively benign compensation for a few swings, these other areas may soon begin to experience compensatory issues if your feet are not addressed.
At Muscle Activation Schaumburg, we help our clients continue to do the things they love to do by serving as a maintenance solution for their bodies. If you are experiencing physical issues (including “golfer’s foot”) that are keeping you from doing activities that you enjoy, we would love to connect with you to see if we may be of service.
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