Golf Pain Escape - P2

golf knee pain

Most Common Golf Injuries and How to Prevent Them


Part 2 - Feet and Knees

Knee and foot pain can damage your swing in a very short time. As soon as knee pain flares up, golfers change swing mechanics and the ball moves - in the wrong directions. I have laid out some simple strategies to prevent golf injuries with little effort. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but here are the first things I tell all my golf clients so they can play 18 without pain.

Knee and foot pain is common in golf, particularly with those who had a previous history of injury and are now experiencing the forces of golf. Knee pain is often the result of degenerative changes (like arthritis) in those over the age of 55, but can also be due to meniscus or ligament damage. Biomechanical factors can produce knee of foot pain that is only experienced during golf or similar activities, and can easily be managed. Preventing golf injuries can be a simple process if approached methodically and with the right guidance. Keep in mind that the cause of pain in an individual can stem from a number of factors including: flexibility, strength, body type, and training.  

If you are experiencing leg pain, you should consult a medical professional immediately - it could be serious, and if not, many symptoms can be managed easily if treatment is performed shortly after injury.

What to do:

  1. Get the right footwear. Golf shoes are the worst. Many do not provide adequate support for people with flat feet and are built for style more than function. If the arch falls, the knee dives in, and trouble begins. The rest of the body will try and compensate, which always means poor swing mechanics. You should feel well grounded and have adequate ankle mobility in your shoes. Try doing a single-leg supported squat in your shoes.
  2. Get the hips moving. Hip mobility is the key to knee protection, as more movement in the hips will reduce stress to the knee. Get on a foam roller, stretch your hip flexors, and do some squats before you play. Your partners will look at you funny...until you take their money.
  3. Strengthen your hamstrings. The Hamstring muscle group are the reigns of the knee. What I mean by this is that the attachment sites of the medial (inside) and lateral (outside) hamstring muscles are on either side of the knee, controlling rotation from the hip down to the shin. This role is essential for maintaining stability throughout the swing, as your rotate at full force.
  4. Train for golf. Resistance training programs have a huge impact on golf performance and injury prevention. Just like professional athletes need cross-training, so do amateur golfers. Get in with a fitness pro and dial in a program specifically for golf.

Dr. Dave Gerbarg

Dr. Dave Gerbarg is the President and Physical Therapist at One Nine Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy in Solana Beach. He specializes in sports medicine for teenage and adolescent athletes.