With so many of my clients being golfers and sharing their frustrations with me, I thought I would share some research on how podiatry could improve your game.
Studies on design of golf clubs when measuring improvement in golf performance are inconclusive. However research shows there is a positive relationship between physical balance and golf performance.
Stude and Gullickson’s study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics observed ‘that a stable base of support allowed the player to generate more acceleration during the downswing, which resulted in greater ball flight distance’. Their research showed that players who had poor balance had less ball flight distance due to the lack of consistency in properly contacting the ball.
The use of custom-fit orthoses increased relative club head velocity and this might have been related to:
- Improved proprioception (sensory perception)
- A more efficient gait pattern
- A reduction of fatigue
So, how can custom orthotics influence balance and proprioception?
- Orthotics are designed to correct alignment and structural deficiencies one might have.
- By correcting alignment the body should become more symmetrical, thus making your non dominant side stronger.
- Orthotics distribute pressure more evenly across the whole foot which can decrease fatigue, and reduce risk of overloading certain muscles.
In a separate study by Nigg et al. (2009) they concluded that balance and stability are essential for an effective and consistent golf swing. Control of posture is maintained by the ability of the proprioceptors, which include sensory receptors on the feet.
When it comes to power and speed, these studies indicate that proper foot support can add up to 8 kms per hour and 14 extra metres to your golf shot!
Having the proper support and balance allows us to get the most power out of our muscles, which improves our precision when making contact with the “sweet spot” of our club. Stretch that impact over the course of 18 holes and imagine the potential result! My advice is to start incorporating some balance exercises into your daily routine.
If you would like more information, practical exercises or would like to see if you are a candidate for custom flexible orthotics then call one of our friendly clinics for an appointment.
Balanced Sports Podiatry
Geelong – 5222 2358
Jan Juc – 5261 4146
- Nigg, BM, Davis, E, Lindsay, D, Emery, C 2009 ‘The Effectiveness of an Unstable Sandal on Low Back Pain and Golf Performance’ Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, vol.19, no.6 pp. 464-470.
- Stude DE & Gullickson J 2000 ‘Effects of Orthotic Intervention and 9 Holes of Simulated Golf on club head velocity in experienced golfers’ Journal Of Manipulative And Physiological Therapeutics, vol.23, no.3, pp.168-174
- Stude, D.E & Gullickson, J 2001 ‘The Effects of Orthotic Intervention and 9 Holes of Simulated Golf on Gait in Experienced Golfers’ Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, vol.24, no.4, pp.279-287