With the Masters soon approaching and the weekends warming beautifully, now is the time to hit the green and brush up on your golf game. However, if you start noticing your swing is suddenly out of whack, your foot health might be the prime suspect. Pain in your big toe, heel, and the ball of your foot are the most common spots likely to ruin your golf swing. Pain in these areas can be caused by many common foot problems including the following:
Arthritis of the big toe- Arthritis is inflammation of the big toe joint, including the cartilage and synovial membrane, and it can affect you at any age. It can be caused by bad genetics and/or a history of wear and tear on the big toe joint. Symptoms of arthritis include stiffness, pain, or swelling which can create instability that will ultimately affect your golf swing. Painless mobility of the big toe joint is necessary to a proper follow-through on a strong drive swing.
Heel Pain (ie. Plantar Fasciitis)- Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common problems of the foot and is caused by inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of your foot. It can be caused by a variety of things, but almost always manifests itself as a very sharp pain in your heel and tightness in your arch. This, in turn, can make it difficult to maintain a solid stance during your golf swing. Your swing ends up weaker, and your aim may be off.
Neuromas or “pinched nerves”- A neuroma is an enlarged, thickened nerve that, when irritated or compressed, can cause sharp, stabbing, or burning pain on the bottom of the foot near the toes. Neuromas can be caused by many different things including poorly fitting shoes (especially high heels), repeated stress on the foot, or simple foot deformities such as a high or flat arch. If a neuroma manifests itself in the ball of your foot, it will make it very painful to transfer your weight from one foot to the other during your golf swing.
Your best golf swing starts with healthy feet! Whether you’re driving or putting, you don’t want your feet distracting your focus or hindering your aim as you prepare for and follow through with your swing. However, all hope is not lost. If you believe your golf game is suffering from any of the foot problems above, the best way to avoid a hike in your handicap is to schedule an appointment at one of the Advanced Foot and Ankle Care Center locations nearest you. Just remember this spring that if your feet aren’t in top condition, your golf swing won’t be either!