Medically Reviewed by Thomas DiStefano, MD
A bad knee adds pain and takes the fun out of recreational activities, such as golf. A total knee joint replacement can remove the pain and return you to the golf course. Even professional golfers, such as Fred Funk and Peter Jacobson, undergo knee joint replacement. Here are some tips to help you return to your foursome, even if you’re not a pro.
“We usually advise patients to wait three to nine months before returning to golf,” says McLeod Orthopedic Specialist Thomas DiStefano, MD. “To ensure a successful return, continue exercises your surgeon or physical therapist recommends until you’re ready to tee it up.”
Before dusting off your clubs, you can speed your healing and rebuild your muscle strength with:
- Walking or exercising on an elliptical bike keeps your joints limber, improve circulation and prevent blood clots from developing.
- Warm water therapy in a Jacuzzi or bath at home or at a fitness center.
- Light massage after the swelling lessens breaks up scar tissue, encourages blood circulation and makes the muscles stronger.
- Add to your diet foods with Vitamin C to your diet (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and other green leafy vegetables) to speed healing.
- Add to your diet foods with Vitamin A (carrots, cantaloupe and squash) to prevent infection.
More than 90% of patients, who golf, can successfully return to the game. Make your return more enjoyable with these golf-specific tips:
- Spend time at the driving range, because your new knee joint may require some swing adjustment. For instance, a new hip joint may limit your bending forward or twisting your foot.
- Practice with wedges and short irons for a few trips to the range. This will keep you from “swinging for the fences” with your driver. Start with partial swings and work your way up to a full swing.
- You may want to spend some time with a golf professional, who can help you adjust, possibly recommending a step-through swing.
- Wearing shoes without spikes, such as cross-training sneakers, reduce stress on the knee from torque and rotation.
- Stretching always helps loosen you up before teeing off. After a total joint replacement focus on stretching your calf and thigh.
What Can You Expect?
A study of 750 golfers who had a joint replacement found “no significant change” in their golf performance or participation prior to joint problems to one year after surgery.
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Sources include: McLeod Health, NYTimes, Golf Fitness Magazine, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Journal of Arthroplasty