Although golf does not involve running or jumping, injuries can occur to the foot and ankle. Golfers should be aware Heel Pain or Plantar Fasciitis can be exacerbated by excessive walking on the golf course.
Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis)
Heel pain is most often caused by plantar fasciitis, a condition that is sometimes also called heel spur syndrome when a spur is present. Heel pain may also be due to other causes, such as a stress fracture, tendonitis, arthritis, nerve irritation or, rarely, a cyst.
Because there are several potential causes, it is important to have heel pain properly diagnosed. A foot and ankle surgeon is able to distinguish between all the possibilities and to determine the underlying source of your heel pain.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes. In this condition, the fascia first becomes irritated and then inflamed, resulting in heel pain.
The most common cause of plantar fasciitis relates to faulty structure of the foot. For example, people who have problems with their arches, either overly flat feet or high-arched feet, are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis.
Wearing non-supportive footwear on hard, flat surfaces puts abnormal strain on the plantar fascia and can also lead to plantar fasciitis. This is particularly evident when one’s job requires long hours on the feet. Obesity and overuse may also contribute to plantar fasciitis.
Fractured ribs, herniated discs, injured wrist and knees, we’re not talking the Eagles injury report, but rather some of the injuries suffered on the PGA tour! Hard to believe that what’s been described as “a good walk spoiled” and debated by others as not even being a sport could result in this litany of injuries.
So what are the most common problems suffered by the weekend golfer and how can you treat and prevent them?
It’s been estimated that 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some time in their life. That number becomes even higher when you enjoy golf as an activity. With the average golfer generating torque and swing speeds of 80 to 90 miles an hour and pros well over 110 it is not surprising that the raid generation and sudden stop put significant stress on the lumbar spine. Pre and in-season stretching and core strengthening can be good preventatives. Rest, anti-inflammatories (like Motrin or Aleve) stretching, deep tissue massage and bracing all may be helpful early on. If not responding after a week you may need to see your health care professional.
Tennis elbow (outside of the elbow) and golfer’s elbow (medial elbow) are also the bane of the duffer and pro golfer alike. Over use, hitting off mats, too stiff a shaft and improper grip size can lead to these problems. Stretching, tennis elbow straps, ice, anti inflammatories and injections all have a place in treatment. Sometimes a switch to graphite or a more flexible shaft may be beneficial and could be a reason to consult a golf professional.
Most wrist pain related to golf comes from tendonitis and over use. Taking time off (sorry fellow golfers), ice and anti-inflammatories will cure most cases. If the pain follows striking a root or another object, results in joint swelling or lasts more than a week after treatment than a more serious injury (fracture or ligament tear) is a possibility and a trip to the doctor is more advisable.
The stiff lead leg is exposed to high stress during weight shift, and while not as common as some of these other problems these injuries often involve ligaments or meniscus and may need medical attention earlier. Those with arthritis also may see flares during golf season. Bracing and an evaluation of your swing by your golf pro may help. Continue reading →
“Its all In The Hips” By Larry Justin “LJ” Georgetti, DPT
Any aging golfer can count on one of his/her friend’s bailing on an eight o-clock tee time due to “back pain”. Range of motion and strength of the whole body are essential when building a strong foundation to a healthy golf swing. I believe that the abnormalities in swing mechanics and mobility limitations in the hips/spine will cause restrictions in how one develops force in the golf swing. These abnormalities over time will result in dysfunction and eventually pain.
The golf swing has many variables, as does the human body. However, one thing remains consistent throughout all golf swings: energy must be delivered to a stationary golf ball in order to move it a desired distance. In the most efficient swings, energy is generated by the lower extremities via the ground. How this energy is gained, stored and eventually transmitted are exactly where the variables begin to differentiate between professional and recreational golfers. A golfer utilizes his/her lower extremity to generate force through the ground and eventually to the ball at impact. It is worth noting that the musculature surrounding the hips, known as the “glutes”, are the strongest in the body. These are the ones responsible for getting us up out of a chair and keeping us erect when walking. Problems arise when we do not train and utilize these muscles appropriately. As my colleague, Chris Hanson, previously discussed, the hip and the lumbar spine are closely related in the golf swing. If dysfunction arises in one, the other will suffer.
By Christopher C. Hanson, PT, MPT, DMT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Most golfers are weekend warriors and if there is extra time in anyone’s schedule for golf activities, more times than not this is allocated to swing training. As the last few articles have discussed, physical fitness is equally important. In order to have a world class swing, the function of one’s musculoskeletal system also needs to be equipped. Golf is a sport that requires strength, power, coordination and mobility; no one of these is more important than the other. This weekly dive into the physical care of a golfer’s body will discuss the importance of hip mobility and stability in all golfers.
In the golf community the importance of spinal mobility and strength is well documented. There have been numerous social media campaigns since the start of this golf season showing new creative ways to improve spinal mobility and strength. However, absent from these posts have been ways to improve hip strength and mobility; negating altogether the connection between the hip and the spine.
The hip and the spine are intricately related. If one has movement issues in one area, it can transmit increased forces along the kinetic (movement) chain. In the presence of hip mobility issues the body increases motion in other joints. The body is almost too good at this compensation and creating more (too much) movement in order to allow someone to function in a way that seems correct. In the presence of limited hip mobility there may be an excessive forces through the lumbar spine. This can happen at different points in the swing. Limited hip mobility can create issues in the back swing, during the initiation of swing and during the follow through. This also relates to other sporting activities as well.