Dr. Kevan Orvitz
      Dr. Kevan Orvitz

Fore: The Health of Your Feet

Golf is an ancient and respected sport


The game of golf has been played for many centuries. Most historians place the origins of the game as we know it, back to Scotland in the early second century, but other versions of the game have been mentioned even earlier. In the beginning, golf was usually only played by “gentlemen” and was often played by people of high social status, including royalty.


The risks of playing golf?


Golf is usually considered a non-strenuous, non-impact sport and many people enjoy it as a great way to relieve stress and get some mild exercise (walking between holes). It may be quite surprising to many, then, to find out that there are certain injury risks when playing golf, especially for golfers who play frequently and over a long period of time. Most of the possible risk of injuries is to the feet of the golfer. One serious ailment that avid golfers may face is known as Hallux Rigidus, which is a specific type of degenerative arthritis that can occur in the joint of the big toe. This is generally caused by repeatedly overextending the big toe joint of the back leg during the follow-through of the golf swing. This condition can be very painful and limit the player’s ability to enjoy the game of golf (we will discuss preventing or lessening this pain with the use of golf insoles in the next section). Other common golf related foot problems include various types of neuromas, which are pinched nerves on the bottom of the feet. These usually occur from the pressure points created by the spikes of the golf shoes.


How to prevent the foot problems associated with golf


One simple way to avoid the risk of neuroma is to wear golf shoes that do not have a spike located at the ball of the foot. This is the most common location for a neuroma due to the tremendous pressure that is placed on the ball of the foot when twisting to hit the ball, the entire body weight is pressing down on the ball of the foot during a swing. Another option is to remove any spikes located at the ball of the foot from your current golf shoes. This should not cause any problems with the traction and stability of the golf shoes.


A great way to reduce the pressure from all areas of the foot and big toe is to use a good set of golf insoles. A well made pair of golf insoles will dramatically reduce the pressure and friction experienced by the foot during a golf swing and the impact shock to the foot for those golfers who choose to walk the course for some exercise. A quality pair of golf insoles will be bacteria, mold and fungus resistant and noticeably improve the golfer’s comfort level while reducing fatigue.


Summary


Even though golf is a fairly non-strenuous sport that has been played for over a thousand years by many people, including royalty, it is not without the risk of injury. Foot problems such a Hallux Rigidus or neuromas can be very painful and limit a player’s ability to play golf. Simple solutions such as removing badly placed spikes and wearing quality golf insoles can dramatically reduce or avoid these risks and keep a player on their best game.