A powerful, and effective golf swing starts with a stable foundation. From a solid foundation the entire swing can be leveraged and a low handicap status can be achieved. The important but often overlooked foundation, are pain free and well-functioning feet and ankles. While there is a lot of discussion about back, hip and knee injuries in golf, most golf instructors will tell you that the power of a swing is created “from the ground up”.
Injuries to the great toe
At the end of follow through, the great toe of the dominant foot experiences an increase in pressure. This can cause a jamming of the toe into the top of the shoebox. With repetition, the area under the toenail can become injured causing blood to form or the nail to lift from the nail bed. These types of injuries should not be taken lightly. Even though the toe is a small portion of the body, if not treated injuries to this area can cause significant pain, infection and loss of function. Wearing proper fitting shoes and adjustments in the golf swing to prevent the irritation of the nail is necessary to eliminate recurrence.
Stability is an important factor in performance in both accuracy and distance, and is also a contributor to the amount of power generated. The lower body needs to be the stable foundation for the upper body during the rotation required for the backswing and the trail foot is expected to remain relatively stable during this rotation. The lateral, or outside of the ankle is a common site of injury for golfers and other athletes alike. Repetitive strain will cause laxity of the lateral ankle ligaments and predispose that ankle to easier spraining. Sprains of the ligaments can lead to weakness and a lack of stability in the golf swing and while walking on the uneven terrain of a golf course.
Golfing is a highly coordinated sport that, by its nature, is associated with risk of repetitive motion injuries. Being intentional about maintaining good foot form and taking care of a stable foundation can keep golfers free of injury and enjoy years on the course.
Dr Graham is a Board Certified Foot and Ankle Podiatrist treating all related problems related to the foot and ankle with both surgical and conservative modalities. He joins the mission of SOA to get his patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life.