For many, golfing is a relaxing hobby and means for relieving stress. Unlike other sports, golfing doesn’t require intensive running or jumping; but that doesn’t mean injuries aren’t possible. Golf injuries can happen both immediately or over time, but knowing how to prevent injury is crucial for keeping you on the green.
Golfers commonly fall victim to ankle, heel, and foot pain due to the way the body moves when hitting a ball. It’s common for lateral ankle injuries, also known as golf ankle, to occur in avid players, as well as plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the tissue connected the sole of the foot to the heel bone). During the follow through of hitting the ball, the foot tends to turn inward, putting increased pressure on the joints. Thankfully, there are ways to manage pain and prevent the onset of common injuries.
Wearing the Right Golf Shoes
For starters, never underestimate the importance of wearing the right footwear. Unlike everyday shoes, golf shoes are made to give players stability and the needed flexibility it takes for a solid golf swing. Not only does this aid performance, it helps prevent injury as well. Most golf shoes are designed to provide needed support to the foot’s arches and reduce pronation (also known as uncontrolled lowering of the arches). When searching for a pair, take the unique demands of your body into consideration.
Slipping on a Pair of Compression Socks
Golf shoes should be paired with high quality golf socks as well for the best possible performance. Compression socks are designed to both support arches and continuously stretch the plantar fascia of the foot to prevent injury and provide pain relief. Golfing can also mean standing for long periods of time, causing the legs to feel fatigued. Another significant benefit of using compression socks is that help increase blood flow and circulation, fighting against tired legs and helping you enjoy the game more.
Doing Pre-game Stretches
Warming up before you hit the course is a good idea to improve flexibility and get your body ready. Before beginning, spend 5-10 minutes performing light activity, such as brisk walking to get yourself ready. When stretching, be gentle with yourself. To stretch your ankles, stretch a hand towel or resistance band around the ball of your foot and gently pull it towards you while keeping legs straight. This stretches both your calf and ankle, and only takes 30 seconds to complete.
Use Proper Posture
Proper posture can make all the difference on the course. As a rule of thumb, keep legs shoulder-width apart while rotated outward slightly. Give your knees a little bend, hold your spine straight with your torso positioned forward. Remember, most of the motion of your swing should come from your hips to avoid putting strain on the rest of your body.
Not every golfing-related injury can be prevented, but by taking the proper precautions you can greatly reduce your risk. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional golfer, or if its just your favorite hobby; staying safe from injury is just part of the game.