So when can I return to golf after knee replacement surgery?
That is a very common question that I hear from my patients. Knee replacements are becoming more and more common now, especially as the baby boom generation is getting older. Many of these people have been active throughout their lives and want to return to being active even after knee replacement surgery.
Though most people consider golf a low impact activity, the amount of walking involved combined with rotational forces at the knee make it much more stressful than you would think.
This golf swing research article review deals with whether or not golfers can return to walking the course following their surgery.
Surveys were sent to 151 golfers who had undergone a knee replacement over a 5 year span. Of those 151, 93 golfers responded. The surveys consisted of 33 questions regarding performance, use of a cart, pain, timing of their return to golf, and frequency.
Results indicated that 57% of those who responded returned to the golf course within 6 months after replacement surgery. 81% were also able to golf as, or more, frequently than prior. And the vast majority reported less pain with golf than prior to their surgery.
Only 14% of the golfers had returned to walking the course following their surgery.
There are a few take home messages from this article:
-You have a little more than a 50% chance of returning to golf within 6 months following total knee replacement surgery.
-When you do go back to golf, you will likely need to use a cart, compared to walking the course.
-Chances are, you will have less pain with golf following your surgery!
To read the full article, please click here.
Jackson JD, Smith J, et al. Am J Sports Med November 2009 vol. 37 no. 11 2201-2204.
Also, a more recent study, which can be found here, has found that the forces placed through the knee are much higher than anticipated.
The golf swing generated forces of similar magnitude to that of jogging! Luckily, the frequency of those forces is much lower during the golf swing than that of jogging.
The authors of this article are advocates for sport specific prosthetic designs that would more appropriately be able to handle the forces of those activities.
The authors certainly do not discourage anyone from golfing after a knee replacement, but simply want to warn this group of golfers that the forces at play at their knees are much higher than most people would think.