Orthotics for your golf shoes may not be something that’s crossed your mind; however considering proper foot alignment is essential to a sound golf swing, coupled with the fact you can clock around 10kms in a typical round of golf, it stands to reason that by optimising your footwear it is possible to not only make your game more enjoyable, but perhaps even improve your handicap as well.
Improving your game
Balance and stability are the foundation of a solid and effective golf swing. Even though you are essentially stationary, the feet are required to make intricate, athletic movements to provide fluidity, stability and power. During the swing, the golfer places their weight on the balls of the feet, then shifts the weight to the heel of the foot before moving it forward once again. During this sequence, it is important that proper foot alignment is maintained to control the lateral and pivoting motions of the golf swing. For many golfers, as the pressure builds on the rear foot, their foot will roll or supinate, or their hips will sway which will release the torsional energy produced by the backswing. In this event, the strong muscles in the legs, back and shoulders are effectively eliminated from the golf swing and the player must generate most of the power with their arms and hands. This imbalance in the lower limbs can also cause imprecise contact with the golf ball.
A custom orthotic in your golf shoe can help to improve your posture, provide increased stability and encourage proper foot bracing and a fluid release during the sequence of a golf swing. This in turn can increase the power and accuracy of your drive.
Reducing your pain
Biomechanical imbalances may be doing more than having a negative impact on your golf game. They may also be making you susceptible to strain and overuse injuries on the ligaments and tendons of the lower leg. If you are not maintaining a neutral position, it means your leg, ankle and feet muscles are constantly having to work overtime to try and stabilise the foot. This can not only be tiring, but can also lead to pain and injury in your feet, legs, knees and lower back. Unfortunately many people do not naturally possess a neutral stance and instead are prone to either pronating (rolling the foot in) or supinating (rolling the foot out). Overpronation in the feet can lead to lower back pain and shin splints. Like many sports that involve prolonged periods of activity, golfers are also susceptible to heel pain such as plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the band of tissue that extends from your heel to the ball of your foot. Some golfers may also experience tendonitis as a result of the pressures placed on the foot during the golf swing.
Properly fitted golf orthotics can correct your foot position and allow the correct alignment of your ankle, heel, knees and hips. This not only helps you execute a better golf swing, but can allow micro-tears in ligaments, overused muscles, and other injuries to rest and heal more quickly.
General orthotics vs golf-specific
If you currently wear a pair of orthotics in your everyday shoes, consider using these in your golf shoes too. For ultimate performance, it is recommended you consult with your podiatrist to have a golf-specific orthotic casted – these are constructed with particular elements that assist with the unique movements involved in the golf swing and will also be made to comfortably fit your golf shoes.
At Ned Buckley Podiatry in West Perth, we have more than 12 years of experience in crafting custom orthotics. We use the Conformable range of orthotic products which cover the full spectrum of general and sports-specific devices, including golf.