As you head to your favorite golf course this spring, make sure your feet are in shape before approaching the tee box. Your big toe, heel and ball of your foot are the spots most likely to cause pain that can ruin your golf swing.
Behind these pain-prone spots can lie stiff joints, stretched-out tissues and even nerve damage. But pain relief is possible and frequently does not require surgery.
The three most common foot conditions that can be the barrier to a perfect golf swing are neuromas, arthritis and heel pain.
Neuromas are nerves that become thickened, enlarged and painful because they’ve been compressed or irritated. A neuroma in the ball of your foot can cause significant pain as your body transfers its weight from one foot to the other while swinging the club.
Arthritis can cause pain in the joint of your big toe that makes it difficult to follow-through.
Heel pain typically results from an inflammation of the band of tissue that extends from your heel to the ball of your foot. People with this condition compare the pain to someone jabbing a knife in their heel. Heel pain can make it uncomfortable for golfers to maintain a solid stance during crucial portions of the swing.
Other painful conditions
Several other painful conditions can also make the perfect swing difficult. Ankle arthritis or ankle instability can affect the proper weight shift during the golf swing. Some athletes and former athletes develop chronic ankle instability from previous ankle sprains that failed to heal properly. Achilles tendonitis can also contribute to balance-threatening instability during your golf swing. Ill-fitting golf shoes may cause corns and calluses that make standing uncomfortable.
Foot pain is not normal. With the treatment options available to your foot and ankle surgeon, a pain-free golf swing is clearly in view. When your feet aren’t in top condition, your golf swing won’t be either.