Ortho Corner: Returning to the golf course after hip or knee replacement

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There are around 25 million golfers in the United States, so it should come as no surprise that 1 in 5 of the patients undergoing a hip or knee replacement each year golf. In these patients, one of the first questions we tend to get asked during our evaluations is: ‘When can I golf again?’

So, since golf season is in full swing, here is some information in that regard.

Dr. Chad A. Krueger Provided

While that answer will depend to some degree on the fitness and pre-surgery level of golf for each individual, the short answer is that most golfers can expect the following progression after a hip or knee replacement. At 4-6 weeks, you can start putting; at 6-10 weeks you can start chipping; and at 10-12 weeks you can start driving (although we recommend doing shortened swings to start). This leads most golfers to return to a full 18 holes of golf at around 4-5 months after their hip or knee replacement. Of course, these are rough guidelines and it is important that each patient listen to their surgeon for specific instructions.

But the reality is that around 70-90% of all individuals are able to golf again after their hip or knee replacement.

In terms of how well you will play after your surgery — that’s a bit harder to predict. However, over 90% of golfers are satisfied with their level of play after their hip or knee replacement and the data does seem to suggest that the lower your handicap was before your hip or knee replacement, the more likely you are to lower it further after a hip or knee replacement. Most importantly, golfers who had undergone a hip or knee replacement found that their pain levels during golf had decreased from around 6-7 before surgery to 1-2 after replacement (on a scale of 1-10).

So, while we cannot promise to fix your slice or correct your putting prowess with a hip or knee replacement, we can reliably help you return to the course with less pain to help you enjoy the game even more.

Dr. Krueger is a fellowship-trained, board certified, orthopaedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee replacement surgery. For information on Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, visit RothmanOrtho.com.