Can I return to golf after a total joint replacement?
The main reasons individuals chose to undergo a total joint replacement surgery (either shoulder, hip or knee) is to reduce pain and get back to doing the things they love. For 26 million Americans, golf is the sport they love to do. Many questions arise when golfers who happen to be our patients have a joint replacement surgery.
Two of the most common questions are:
Can I return to golf?
How soon can I return to golf?
The answer depends greatly on type of surgery, the surgeon and compliance with rehabilitation.
Looking at the research many golfers who had a total joint replacement return to golf. The average time to return to golf depends on which joint was replaced and the activity level prior to surgery. The average time frame ranges from 4 to 8 months.
Unique rehabilitation challenges present themselves depending on the joint involved.
For total shoulder and reverse total shoulder replacement good range of motion and strength are essential. This takes time, communication with the surgeon and especially patient and therapist working as a team to safely and effectively progress through basic rehabilitation to a golf specific exercise routine.
There are different surgical approaches to hip replacement. The approach will dictate any precautions after the surgery. Once basic healing and strength are achieved, gaining rotational control components at the hip and pelvis are necessary for return to golf.
With knee replacement surgery, initial rehabilitation focuses on range of motion. Returning to golf after getting a new knee, lies in gaining stability at the knee and of course strength and mobility of the hips, trunk and shoulders.
So the answer is YES you can return to golf. The better shape you are in before the surgery the more likely you are to return to golf. After the surgery, you will need to be patient and allow the body to heal. Exercise is necessary as you recover to regain your endurance. Golf requires you to use your whole body. Meaning while you are protecting the joint that was replaced you can be doing golf specific exercise at other joints to keep and tune up the rest of the body. Making it easier to return once the involved joint is ready to go.
How many steps to you think the average golfer takes when walking the course? 11, 000 steps! For that reason, when you do return we recommend using the golf cart for the first year after surgery reducing undue stress. Even if you had a shoulder replacement a cart prevents you from having to carry your clubs.
We can’t guarantee you will play better after surgery but as physical therapists and movement experts we can get you moving better and back in the game.