The energy golfers require to power their swings is generated by using the ground to produce force. Efficient use of this energy occurs when the bodies segments and joints are able to transfer that force vertically to the next joint or bodily segment. This is known as the kinetic chain. When a golfer has a joint mobility restriction, energy cannot be transferred efficiently up the kinetic chain, resulting in a power leak. Power leaks are are problematic because they can lead to compensatory movement patterns causing a decline in overall performance and ultimately increased risk of injury.
Amongst all of the common practices golfers participate in to ready their bodies for a round of golf, many forget the importance of healthy ankle joints. On average, a golfer will walk anywhere from 5-7 miles per round of golf. Couple that with the amount of swings (both practice and official strokes) you take on the course, you have a lot of ankle wear and tear that can go unnoticed. Remember, the ankle is the first joint in the kinetic chain and when mobility is restricted, a golfer will be unable to sufficiently load his or her backswing, resulting in a substantial power loss and reduction in club head speed.
Assess your ankle mobility:
1. Remove both of your shoes and assume a half kneeling position (with one foot in
front of the other) on a towel or ground.
2. Place the palm of your hand flat on the floor in front of the toes on your lead foot
(the foot that is forward) Take the butt end of a golf club (dowel/rod will suffice) and
place that on the other side of (opposite your toes) that same hand.
3. Keeping the heel of your foot flat on the floor, remove your hand from the floor and
drive your knee to the shaft on the club. Perform on both sides.
4. If your knee touches or reaches past the club, your ankle mobility is sufficient.
5. If your knee doesn’t touch, your heel lifts or you experience pain during this
movement, your ankle mobility is insufficient.
Restore your ankle mobility:
1. Assume a half kneeling position with the knee of the affected ankle (dorsi flexion)
on your RAD Block.
2. Grab a RAD Round placing it in the belly of your calf muscle and rock backwards
so that the Round is compressed between your hamstring and lower leg.
3. Gently compress and shear the RAD Round back and fourth laterally with bearable
4. Perform approximately 10-15 shearing strokes working from the knee joint towards
5. To release the anterior compartment, grab a RAD Round and place it to the side of
your shin bone compressing it between your leg and the floor.
6. Plantar flex your ankle and gently roll your RAD Round up and down your lower leg
performing 10-15 strokes with bearable pressure.
7. Reassess your ankle mobility.
Give the following tips a try to help restore function to your ankle and lower leg.
To longer drives and lower scores,
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