David E. Stude, DC,a and Jeff Gullickson, DCb
Background: This investigation evaluated the effects of orthotic intervention on gait patterns and fatigue associated with 9 holes of simulated golf among a group of experienced golfers.
Setting: Northwestern Health Sciences University, Bloomington, Minn.
Participants: Twelve experienced golfers.
Method: By means of video freeze-frame analysis, gait was assessed in each subject before and after 9 holes of simulated golf. Subjects wore custom-made, flexible orthotics daily for 6 weeks, and gait was then reassessed through use of the same objective measurement parameters. Fatigue was introduced by having participants complete 9-hole rounds of simulated golf before and after wearing custom-made, flexible orthotics for 6 weeks.
Main Outcome Measure: Parameters associated with gait (ie, stride length and pelvic rotation) were measured in all subjects before and after they used custom-fit, flexible orthotics for 6 weeks and before and after they completed 9 holes of simulated golf.
Results: The data indicate that for experienced golfers, wearing the custom-fit, flexible orthotics used in this study for 6 weeks influenced the parameters associated with gait and reduced the effects of fatigue associated with 9 holes of simulated golf.
Conclusion: The use of custom-fit, flexible orthotics in this study had a significant influence on the elements of gait measured in the investigation—specifically, pelvic rotation and stride length. There was an average increase in pelvic rotation of between 29% and 36%, and there were concomitant changes in stride length after subjects had used the orthotics for 6 weeks. In addition, use of these custom orthoses reduced the effects of fatigue associated with playing 9 holes of simulated golf; they could thus improve the likelihood of more consistent performance, possibly as a result of a more efficient gait pattern. (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2001;24:279-87)