|In this article, Dr Andrew Levik highlights how good foot care and maintenance is important in keeping a healthy body...|
Firstly I would like to say how happy I am to have been selected to work as the physical therapist for the LET this summer. As the year progresses I will be writing occasional blogs to keep you girls updated on my point of view as to how you can help your body function throughout the summer as the person who deals with all your aches and pains.
Considering that it is Healthy May, I can not stress enough the importance of how crucial good foot care and maintenance is to keeping a healthy body. One of the first things that I have noticed when treating many of you players is how tight most of you are in the arch area of the foot, this is known as your plantar fascia. The plantar fascia runs from your heel bone ( calcaneus) to the ball of the foot (metatarsal region). The arch can tighten up due to a number of reasons such as walking/running long distances (golfers), feet that roll inwards too much (foot overpronation) or feet that are too rigid or stiff (foot supination). This increased tension in the plantar fascia area can in some cases lead onto a condition called plantar fasciitis (inflammation and pain of the arch area on walking, especially in the mornings).
So what are the ways to attack this area? Firstly, if you have feet that overpronate, then an arch support in the form of an inner sole or orthotic device may help relieve some of the tension. It can also increase the efficiency of your gait or walking cycle, therefore you shouldn't feel as tired when walking off the course at the end of the day.
Another way to relieve tension in the arch area is to grab a golf ball or a tennis ball and roll it underneath the arch area between the heel and the ball of the foot while sitting or standing for about 5 minutes on each foot. Doing this a few times a week can make a significant difference to the arch and will also have an indirect effect on releasing the calf musculature via its fascial connections with the foot. Some of you may then want to ice the arch area for 10 minutes afterwards if you find the feet feel a bit tender.
Also general foot care in relation to any blisters, corns, callus formation, bunions etc should be taken care of as these very minor foot ailments can cause big problems if left untreated. My best advice in regards to dealing with this is have a good podiatrist (foot specialist) to treat and advise you on the most effective way to deal with some of these issues.
Lastly, make sure you have a good pair of trainers and golf shoes that you turn over frequently. An average pair of running shoes will generally last between 800-1000 km's, so for people that walk and run a lot they will be turning them over every 6-9 months. A handy way to make your shoes last a bit longer is to have two pairs and alternate the use of them so that the cushioning systems durability will be enhanced.
I hope these simple yet effective tips will help keep your feet in top shape for the summer to come.
Until next time, happy hitting!
Dr Andrew Levick (Osteopath to the LET)