The Importance of Orthotics in Golf
Tips and Advice
6 August 2018
Although golf is not considered a high impact sport, it can still have a strenuous effect on a golfer’s feet, knees and back, particularly if that individual has a biomechanical imbalance, suffers from joint problems or has suddenly increased the intensity of their practice. This can lead to discomfort and pain during and after play, along with increasing their risk of injury.
Bespoke insoles can offer corrective support and reduce the load placed on vulnerable or injured tissues to help a golfer return to form. Some of the most common problems that golfers face, where bespoke insoles can help as part of a treatment plan are:
Pes Planus (Flat Feet)
What it is: A postural deformity which affects the arches of the foot, causing them to collapse. This makes the sole of the foot come into complete or nearly complete contact with the ground. Pes planus is commonly referred to as flat feet and is also part of the normal ageing process.
How it is caused: In adults the most common cause of flat foot is a loss of active or passive support during dynamic weight-bearing activities. Muscular insufficiency in the ankle and arch stabilisers are a common problem and while many with flat feet do not experience pain, it can in some instances cause associated foot or lower leg pain, and knee and lower back discomfort. When walking on undulating and uneven surfaces, such as those present on a golf course, the discomfort can be even greater.
How bespoke insoles can help: Bespoke insoles also known as Orthotics are often used alongside other foot gymnastics or exercises. Designed to the specification of a clinician based upon a wearers individual assessment and needs, bespoke insoles can provide lasting relief by supporting the arch and reducing the strain on the soft tissues often associated with this condition, enabling the golfer to walk further around the course.
What it is: This is where the Achilles tendon – the band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your calf muscles – undergoes intensive or repetitive strain. This can be very painful for golfers who walk the course and can affect the golf stroke and reduce driving power. Golfers can shift up to 80% of their weight to the back foot and if it is this foot that is affected, precision and force can be seriously compromised. Stress and pain from Achilles tendonitis can cause a golfer to hold back on their swing, resulting in shorter drives and potentially the inability to complete the several miles required in a full round of golf.
How it is caused: There are many causes of Achilles tendonitis, however in golf, the most common are poor-fitting footwear, lack of stretching before a game and a sudden increase in training. Like any tendon, the Achilles can weaken over time. Therefore, it is important to undertake moderate exercise to reduce the excessive strain and ensure warm ups are completed prior to playing.
How bespoke insoles can help: For any golf swing, support in the back of the foot is of utmost importance. Alongside other treatment such as physiotherapy, wearing a bespoke insole to support the medial aspect (inner side) of the foot and reduce tension within the Achilles tendon may help to reduce the soreness and inflammation.
What it is: Osteoarthritis develops when changes due to wear in the cartilage covering the bones (the soft tissue that protects the bone surface) occurs. The cartilage becomes pitted and brittle and can cause underlying bones to thicken and reduce the weight placed on the cartilage. This leads to a stiff and painful joint, which is also often inflamed.
How it is caused: Whilst there is no singular cause, osteoarthritis most commonly occurs in later life and amongst females. Golfers need to be aware of this condition as it may develop as a long-term complication of joint trauma or repetitive prolonged joint stress. Ways to alleviate the pain of osteoarthritis include reducing the weight of your golf bag, and gently stretching the hamstrings before each game to ease some of the stiffness.
How bespoke insoles can help: Bespoke insoles can help reduce the shock impact on the ankle and knee joints, as well limiting movement of painful arthritic joints. This can provide comfort and support to the golfer in taking strokes or walking the miles over the uneven ground of a golf course.
Using Podfo to provide corrective support
Although making a conscious effort to correct posture and stretch before playing can reduce the occurrence of injury and reduce the effect of some of the conditions listed above, this can be further improved by correcting the biomechanical imbalances in the feet that are often the root cause of discomfort or pain. Playing eighteen holes for an average of four hours requires comfort, stability, alignment and balance.
Booking a consultation with a Podfo supplier is the first step to identifying and understanding your own foot biomechanics and supportive needs. After a soft tissue and gait analysis, the podiatrist, physiotherapist or orthotist will assess your individual requirements and may recommend Podfo, if necessary, as part of your treatment plan.
Often, common injuries can be resolved by addressing any underlying biomechanical issues that could be affecting your alignment and balance. Using a biometric bespoke insole such as Podfo can provide comfortable, corrective foot control while supporting natural motion, and may help those who are affected by the conditions listed above. This could help aid in recovery and support improved posture and alignment.
By ultimately relieving pain, and reducing discomfort in the foot and ankle, the golfer can look forward to enjoying the game fully and continue to play many more holes on the course.