Any golf professional will tell you that problems with the feet, even a painful corn or callus, can impede timing and balance to the point where it affects the scorecard at the end of the day. So, if a round of golf is painful on the feet, you need to find out why.

The place to start is with the quality of your shoes. Any time pain is not adequately resolved with good, stable golf shoes and is present for more than two or three consecutive rounds, it’s time to visit a foot specialist. They can diagnose and treat any problems and help make your feet an asset, not a liability, to your golf game.

Causes of injury

Typically, golf players can sustain injuries because of biomechanical imbalances which overload certain structures, and predispose the golfer to overuse of muscles and unnecessary strain on ligaments and tendons.  In these cases, orthoses will equalise the weight load on the lower extremity and in essence rest the overused muscle.

Other problems, such as tendinitis, capsulitis, and ligament sprains and pulls can also keep a golf enthusiast in the clubhouse. Improper shoes can bring on blisters, neuromas (inflamed nerve endings) and other pains in the feet. Podiatrists see these problems daily and can treat them conservatively to allow for a quick return to the sport.

The importance of footwear

Once largely driven by fashion, golf shoes were wing-tip oxfords with spikes. Today, shoes are constructed using basic principles of athletic footwear. Some even incorporate advanced technological innovations such as graphite shank reinforcements, which keep them light and add strength. For golf, you shouldn’t wear shoes that wouldn’t be comfortable if you were taking a good long walk. To make sure they fit well when purchasing, try them on with the same socks you’ll wear on the course.  

And remember – if you get injured, participation is no substitute for rehabilitation. Injured body parts must be thoroughly treated and rehabilitated to meet the full demands of golf or any other sport. If you are injured, your return should be gradual. As much as you may want to get back to your game, take it slowly.