Early each April, the Master’s Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia signals the beginning of the PGA’s major tournaments, and for many in Central New York it coincides with the beginning of a new golf season as the snow melts off the links. Many members of the SOS team are eager golfers ready to dust off their clubs.
Christopher Fatti, DPM, a member of the SOS Foot & Ankle Team and avid golfer, recommends golf as a good low impact activity that people can enjoy for many years. Dr. Fatti shares, “Golf has given me so much. It’s not only a game that can be fun to compete in at any age, enjoy with friends and family, and be outdoors in beautiful weather and landscapes, but it has been a source of self-betterment for me. It teaches patience, perseverance, accountability, among other things, but most importantly, humility when you become overconfident, and self-belief when things aren’t going your way.”A previous issue of Podiatry Today gave a comprehensive overview of how golfers can best care for their feet and enjoy the game, and Dr. Fatti reiterates much of that advice. Foot and ankle injuries that happen during golf activities can occur from traumatic events but are more likely to occur from overuse type injuries. Many different overuse injuries could be directly related to the mechanics of the golf swing. The golf swing can be broken down into the following phases: set up, takeaway, downswing, impact and follow-through, and some tips for proper swing include:
- At set up, the weight should be evenly distributed on both feet with slightly more weight on the inside of the balls of the feet.
- During the takeaway or backswing phase, the front foot should pronate, placing more pressure on the inside of that foot while the back foot stays stable as it receives more weight. The front foot heel may come off the ground and place more pressure on the ball of that foot. This is necessary to promote a full shoulder turn.
- During the downswing, weight rapidly shifts to the front foot until impact when the weight should be evenly distributed between the feet again. There is a lateral shift of the hips and knees during downswing that continues through impact and will continue slightly into the follow-through phase.
- During the follow-through phase, the front foot supinates and the back heel comes off the ground with the weight of the back foot being placed on the big toe.
“Like all local golfers who’ve waited through the winter months, I’m anxious to get back out on the course,” says Dr. Chris Fatti. “I simply encourage fellow golfers to play safely – warm up properly, follow proper form, and enjoy the game!”
Dr. Fatti also has the following general tips for golfers:
- Always warm up before a round of golf. A good warm up prepares your body for more intense activity
- Protect your skin by using sunscreen and wear a hat with a visor to shade your eyes and face.
- Make sure you are well hydrated before, during, and after your game.
- When riding in a golf cart, keep your feet inside the cart. Players have broken ankles when their feet have gotten caught under moving golf carts.
- Always be aware of your environment and other players on the course to avoid by being hit by a golf ball.
Naturescapes from Augusta National Golf Club