Lush green grass, birds chirping, and the company of good people. Golf is a truly wonderful and noble sport where the young and old can tee up and enjoy a competitive game.
But if you’re thinking that golf is just a swing of the club, then think again. It is actually a physically demanding sport that requires you to perform a series of highly coordinated moves for a perfect swing.
At the minimum, you need to have a good stance, optimal posture, and firm grip to complete a swing. To better understand the mechanics of the golf swing, let’s divide it into five phases.
During the set-up phase, there is equal distribution of weight on both feet, with more weight on the middle of the front part of the feet.
This is the back swing where the weight shifts from the outside of the front foot to the inside. The back foot remains stable, so there is more force/stress on the outside of the foot. For a complete shoulder turn, the heel of the front foot may come off the ground, adding more pressure on the front part of the foot.
In this phase, the weight rapidly shifts from the back foot to the front foot until the club hits the ball. The upward ground forces help maximise the speed at which the club head hits the golf ball.
During impact, there is an outward shift in the distribution of weight in the hips and knees that continues progressively throughout this phase and into the follow-through.
In the final phase, the distribution of weight shifts from the back foot to the front foot. The outward force on the front foot decreases, whereas there is more pressure on the big toe of the back foot.
As we know by now, there is more to the golf swing than meets the eye. Knowing the movements involved the swing, it is clear that a poor swing would increase the stress on the lower back and legs.
In general, a golfer is more susceptible to overuse injuries than trauma. According to a study by Pollard et al. the risk of low back injury in golf is common because of repetitive stress.
Repetitive stress can also cause loosening of the ankle ligament, especially during follow-through as the knee of the back foot twists maximally. Over time, this added stress on the ligament can cause pain and compromise the function and flexibility of the ankle.
Foot Posture and Golf Swing
Poor foot posture can impact the golf swing and increase the risk of overuse injury. For instance, people with flat feet experience uneven distribution of weight, which adds more stress on the ankles, knees, hips, and the lower back.
The use of insoles can help in correcting the posture which consequently will cause balanced distribution of weight and reduce fatigue. A study by Stude and Gullickson found out that the swing speed was improved by 7% in participants who wore orthotics for a period of six weeks.
Foot insoles such as MASS4D® can help prevent common overuse injuries caused by playing golf. It supports the foot in the corrected posture to promote even distribution of weight and healthy range of motion.
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Reference: Henry Pollard, Andrew McHardy, Kehui Luo (2006) Golf Injuries. Sports Medicine: February 2006, Vol. 36, No.2, pp. 171-187.
Reference: Stude D.E., Gullickson J. (2000) Effects of orthotic intervention and nine holes of simulated golf on club-head velocity in experienced golfers. Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapy: March-April 2000, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 168-174.
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