Golf is one of the greatest games on earth. A true physical and mental test from tee to green. Maintaining a consistent golf swing week in week out is the elusive challenge faced by every player, professional, amateur, and social. Keeping the club head on plain is an orchestra between mobility, stability, and control through the whole body. If there are any physical limitations, the golf swing will be compromised somewhere along the line.
Maintaining strong body mechanics from the ground up enhances the performance potential of the golf swing while decreasing the risk of injury to the player.
The feet create the base of support from which controls the golf swing. Essentially there are three movements the feet need to do, in order: maintain mobility and control at the setup position, the back swing, and the down swing. If there is a limitation with any of these movements, the feet can become unstable and inhibit a player’s ability to keep the club head on plain. Limitations can include both excessive mobility (unstable base) as well as a limited movement capability with either the bones of the feet or the associated tendons and ligaments.
Below is a breakdown of the joints involved in the set-up, back swing, and down swing:
At the set up the ankle joint needs to be able to produce and maintain stability. The ankle (or talocrural joint) is formed by the bones of the leg and the foot – the tibia, fibula and talus. Functionally, it is a hinge type joint, permitting dorsiflexion and plantarflexion of the foot.
The subtalar joint is the joining between bones in the foot – the talus and calcaneus bones of the ankle (see above). Functionally the subtalar joint allows the foot to adjust to the body movements during the back swing and down swing.
The subtalar joint allows for two movements. Inversion and Eversion. When the foot inverts it slightly turns down. When the foot everts, it turns slightly upwards.
During the back swing and down swing both these movements need to occur on opposite feet at the same time. Sound confusing? Have a look down at your feet during both phases of your swing. See if your feet tilt in any direction while you’re moving. Interestingly, notice if either of your feet struggle to tilt during your swing.
Below are the joints and the actions required during the golf swing:
The Back Swing:
Back foot – The subtalar joint you will go through inversion, the talocrural joint will go through plantarflexion
Front foot – The subtalar joint you will go through eversion, the talocrural joint you will go through dorsiflexion
Back foot – At the subtalar joint you will go through eversion. At the talocrural joint you will go initially go through dorsiflexion followed by plantarflexion
Front foot – At the subtalar joint you will go through inversion. At the talocrural joint you will go through plantarflexion
Below Absolute Health & Performance Osteopath Ashley Gudgeon prescribes ankle mobility exercises to enhance the foot’s ability to maintain stability and control during the golf swing.
As you can see from above information and videos, the fluid involvement of your foot and ankle in the golf swing is quite vital to performance & injury prevention, and by ensuring you are moving well from the ground up, will help put you ahead of the field before you step up to the first tee. To have your movement screened and improved, so that you too can get the most out of your time on the course, come on in to see our movement specialists James and Ash at Absolute.
Written by Osteopath Ashley Gudgeon & Soft Tissue Therapist James Meredith.