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Plantar fasciitis in golfers

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Dominic Evans, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. Dominic Evans

    Dominic Evans Welcome New Poster

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    Recently i have seen a few patients with plantar fasciitis who play golf.

    They all have all had underlying BMX issues. I don't play golf myself but have a general understanding of the action when a golfer tees off and was wondering if this is the common reason which causes the injury.

    Has anyone looked into it in detail or has a better understanding of the mechanics of the foot when playing golf?

  2. Graham

    Graham RIP


    Check the flex of their shoes. Many golf shoes have a stiff forefoot sole and flex too proximally. It's often as simple as just changing their shoe to one that flexes at the MTPJs.
  3. drsarbes

    drsarbes Well-Known Member

    Hi Dom:

    I probably know a bit more about golf than podiatric biomechanics, but I do have some thoughts and observations on this topic.

    • The golf course terrain is conducive to pronation, i.e., soft thick grass, slopes. side hills.

    • Many people walk more when playing golf than at any other time. They also walk for longer distances without stopping (unlike being on your feet for 8 hours but rarely walking more than 20 feet without stopping)

    • Golf shoes, by and large, are made primarily for weather proofing and secondarily for comfort. They are stiff and generally uncomfortable. Patient's do better with "running shoe" type golf shoes.

    • During a golf swing, especially on full swings with longer clubs, the feet do pivot and both pronate
    at different times during the swing, with the right foot (in right handers) pronating more and with more force.

    • Riding a cart does help. Walking AND carrying your bag is more likely to cause pain.

    • Most golf shoes have adducted lasts that allow the upper to be distorted quickly by patients that pronate, however, because of the price, a lot of golfer keep and wears these distorted shoes longer than they would a normal dress shoe.

    • Patients who do not drink alcohol during the round will have more pain.

    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
  4. Agreed!!!! especially your final point:D I see even more foot problems in golfers during the winter months here in the UK when some courses stop allowing trolleys on the courses and the golfers have to carry their bags full of clubs.
  5. Vernon Lever

    Vernon Lever Active Member

    Hi Mr Evans,
    I have a partner in our Podiatry practise who is a MAD golfer. He also treats all our golfing patients as he is well versed in golfing biomechanics. His name is Warren Amler and his email address is: wokkie@global.co.za ------Pop him an email and I am sure he would be able to supply you with all the answers to your golfing questions. Regards, Vernon Lever
  6. Jeremy Long

    Jeremy Long Active Member

    There is another reason for a recent growth in plantar fasciitis complaints among golfers. Although the other posters are correct about a number of poorly conceived shoes that are widely available to the public, most of these being athletic-looking styles or high margin models like most from Walter Hagen. These typically lack sufficient midfoot shanking, and lead to the obvious varus twist of the forefoot. What's also happening is a design trend to place aggressive lateral flares into the rearfoot soles of many credible, performance shoes. Nearly all brands produce models with this design element, and below is a copy of a post I made regarding this topic on another site:

    "Many modern, technical golf shoes do possess design characteristics that reduce unwanted lateral column motion. These designs do not inherently overpronate the rearfoot during the golf swing. Most often there is a ledge on the lateral (and sometimes slightly posterior) heel that helps keep the torso inside the knee and heel. These ledges are far more aggressive than traditional lateral flares in the soling (like on competition tennis and basketball shoes).

    The good news is that these ledges do an admirable job in their intent during the golf swing. The problem is that they can cause injury to those using the shoes to walk the course (my personal preference, by the way).

    In gait, there is usually not an adequate amount of heel spring in the sole profile, like what one would find in traditional Adidas golf shoes. This lack, coupled with the lateral ledge, actively accelerates the rearfoot into eversion while walking. For some it could easily cause plantar heel pain; in your case, it sounds like it bypassed the foot and those forces traveled right into the knee.

    Among technical golf shoes, there are some that provide a compromise of this design element to make the shoes more walker friendly. My two favorites are the Lindbergh model from Puma and the SP-8.5 from Nike. The Flexor from Ecco may be the most biomechanically efficient walking golf shoe, but it lacks that lateral ledge that you desire."
  7. Pauline burrell-saward

    Pauline burrell-saward Active Member

    i have 2 large golf courses locally and whilst i have never played I have been treating golfers for a number of years.

    I did find a huge increase a few years ago when we had a very dry summer this immproved when the club put in watering systems.

    Golfers can often walk up to 5 miles playing one game, they also tend to play 2/3 times a week. needless to say the majority are retired so age does come into it.

    However they are ideal patients as they will do "whatever" to keep themselves fit and healthy

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