Great golf after hip or knee replacement
As a physical therapist I often hear the question, Can I play golf again? Regardless of age, skill level or gender, everyone ' especially here in Florida, where we can, fortunately, enjoy golf year-round ' is eager to return to the sport. Many times these patients are recent recipients of hip or knee replacements.
Recent statistics reveal that each year more than half a million people undergo hip or knee replacement surgery. In my research, I have found that every surgeon encourages his or her patient to resume golfing following the procedure. And, in fact, more than 90 percent of patients successfully return to playing golf.
The face of those opting for hip and knee replacements is changing. Men and women who are younger and more active are choosing to have the surgery sooner. As with every procedure, the surgeons are refining techniques that advancing technology continues to improve.
This allows many patients to return to golf sooner than would have been possible 10 or 20 years ago. However, it is imperative that the new joints are ready to take on the tolls of returning to the game of golf.
Immediately After Replacement Surgery
Early range of motion (ROM) is the key. You will want to discuss with your surgeon the plan for immediate post-operative ROM. Quite often surgeons will prescribe continuous passive motion (CPM) machines or similar devices to allow you to start stretching the ROM immediately. Also, most surgeons recommend that you start Physical Therapy in the hospital and continue after discharge ' either at home, in a rehabilitation center or in an outpatient facility ' to maximize your motion gains.
This procedure is often accompanied with post-operative motion restrictions to protect the integrity of the new joint. The movements that are restricted depend on the technique that your surgeon uses. Most commonly, bending forward at the waist (hip flexion) and twisting the foot (hip internal or external rotation) are limited. Your surgeon and the technique he or she uses will determine the length of time for the restrictions. Once these restrictions are lifted, it is often easy to regain full ROM.
The amount of weight that you can place through the leg that has the joint replaced varies. Often times you can place as much weight through the leg as you can tolerate, but again, your surgeon determines this. You will have to use a walker or crutches immediately after the surgery, and then usually progress to the use of a cane prior to walking normally.
Strengthening the muscles around the joint should begin as soon as possible. Most surgeons will let you begin walking and light strengthening exercises the day after surgery. Your Physical Therapist will progress your exercises from simple movements to more complex, functional movements that mimic daily and even golf-related activities as you recover.
Most surgeons and physical therapists recommend returning to golf three to nine months after the surgery, depending on the progress of your recovery. Once you are cleared to return to golf, you will want to continue to progress the exercises you learned in rehab to ensure that your new joint is ready to face the challenges of a golf swing. In addition, follow these suggestions in your return to the links:
1) Use a golf cart
Although walking is a great form of exercise, a golf cart is advised as you return to playing, to decrease the stress on the new joint. Walking an 18-hole course is too strenuous for the new hip or knee joint, especially as you are first returning to the game.
2) Wear spikeless shoes
Shoes with spikes ' even soft spikes ' can create torque or rotational stress at the knee and hip joints. Following replacement surgery, we want to avoid any unnecessary stress or torque throughout the joint. Spikeless golf shoes are usually available at golf outfitters. Cross-training sneakers are also a good option. Additionally, your golf professional may be able to help you achieve a swing utilizing a step-through method, which also helps to minimize rotational stress throughout the leg.
3) Start slow and build up gradually
As with returning from any injury or time away from the golf game, it is important to start off with an easy, partial swing and gradually work up to a full swing. I always advise my patients to take only their wedges and short irons to the driving range the first few times they go. This helps to eliminate the urge to test out the new joint. I have them start in the chipping areas, progressively working up to a full swing with their pitching wedge or 9-iron at the range. After a few days of this, the patient is usually ready, both physically and mentally, to start swinging again with a driver and the longer irons.
Stretching is always important, particularly with hip and knee replacements. It is good to stretch your thigh, hamstring and calf muscles before playing golf to ensure optimum flexibility and reduced stress around the new joint. Another important stretch is for rotation, which is often restricted after hip replacement surgery. To perform this exercise, lay down on your stomach, with the surgically repaired knee bent to about 90 degrees, or a right angle, the bottom of your foot pointed toward the ceiling. You may want to place a pillow under your stomach to decrease stress on your low back. Keeping your back relaxed and still, slowly rotate your hip by turning the lower leg to the inside (external hip rotation) and then to the outside (internal hip rotation). Do not allow your torso to move. Hold for three to five seconds in each position and repeat 10-15 times on each leg. This exercise will not only loosen up the hip rotator muscles, but also help to strengthen them.
There are many available exercises to perform after hip and knee replacements. Your Physical Therapist will help you determine the best exercises to continue to maintain strength for golf. One of the most important strengthening exercises is the step-down. This exercise will help you gain and then maintain the strength necessary to climb up and down small hills and bunkers, as well as improving balance.
To perform step-down, stand on a small (approximately four inch) step with a railing or wall for hand support. A phone book can be substituted if there is not a small step available. Stand with your surgical leg on the step, and your other leg raised slightly in front of you. Without leaning in any direction, slowly lower down until your other heel touches the ground. Slowly rise back up. Focus on controlling the downward movement of lowering your other leg to the ground. Start with two sets of five repetitions, working up to two sets of 10 reps. When you can easily control the knee during the step-down exercise for two sets of 10 repetitions, you may increase the step to six inches to increase the challenge.
With increased hip and knee replacements, and post-operative golfers staying active longer, we are inevitably going to see more golfers on the course. These tips are key elements in protecting that new hip or knee joint, and ensuring its stability through many rounds of golf. If you are contemplating a hip or knee replacement surgery, visit your orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist in preparation for your eventual return to golf. It is never too late or too early to improve your strength and flexibility!
Erin Hurley-Booker, MPT, MTC, CSCS, is a GFM Advisory Team Member and Clinic Director for Physiotherapy Associates in Ocoee, Fla. For further information on Erin, log onto www.golffitnessmagazine.com/advisoryteam
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If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it
NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.
She says she always gets nervous starting a round.
You don’t believe it, though.
She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .
Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .
Or disarming ticking bombs . . .
“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.
Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.
Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.
Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.
At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.
She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.
She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.
And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.
There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.
Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.
It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.
Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.
Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.
“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”
About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.
Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.
“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”
David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.
“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”
Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.
Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . .
“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.
Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.
“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”
Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.
“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.
Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.
National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.
The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.
Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.
These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:
Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.
This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.
“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”
Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.
In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.
If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.
“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”
Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.
Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.
''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''
The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.
The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.
''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''
Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.
''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''
First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).
Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.
''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.
''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''