This shows us how important Jack feels the feet were to the golf swing, but what should we or can we do to maximize the performance of this body area to golf.
To start with you should actively be looking after our feet. With noticeable signs of tightness, particularly in our calf and pre-tibial muscles, as well as the plantar fascia, you should look at stretching and self massage (spikey ball, foam roller etc.).
If tightness remains, or a more serious injury then seek professional advice (podiatrist, physiotherapist).
At this stage, as well as other strategies, the use of orthotics may be suggested as a form of management . So what are the issues here?
The biggest issue is that golf has two vastly different facets to it that involve the feet. Firstly it is there considerable involvement in the swing. Secondly it is their need to allow ambulation around the 18 holes of the golf course.
Now to walk around the golf course we do not need speed, power or ‘maximized performance’ from our feet. Rather we simply need to adequately perform the task with minimal risk of injury or fatigue.
However, due to many factors this is not always enough and the use of orthotics may seem the ideal remedy.
But how will these orthotics effect the feet and their role in the swing? Lets have a simplified look at the movement patterns of the feet in the golf swing:
- In initial stance, weight is close to even, right to left, with more pressure directed towards the inner heels.
- In the backswing weight is transferred to the right foot (right hander), with pressure even more to the inner heel.
- In the downswing, with a general lateral weight shift, weight moves over to the leading left foots heel. The pressure in the right foot moves to the big toe.
- At impact and follow through, the right foot pronates and comes up onto the big toe. The leading left foot, continuing the lateral weight movement, inverts with pressure rolling onto the outer/lateral side.
So this is a vastly different pattern of movement to that which our feet experience with walking. If orthotics are to be prescribed for the elite golfer they must allow for this movement to be adequately performed.
This may be achieved if custom-made by a podiatrist knowledgeable with golf bio-mechanics. There are also some ‘over the counter’ orthotics which through claims hopefully address this dual movement quandary.
Whatever management is chosen, be sure you actually require them, trial their potential effect on your swing first (maybe with investigatory foot strapping to mimic the orthotic) and make sure that your golf ‘feels’ are not being interfered with too much.