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Tips to Returning to Golf

Tips for Returning To Golf After A Total Shoulder Replacement

returning to golf after a total shoulder replacementThere’s nothing like a good round of golf. If you’ve just had a total shoulder replacement, you might be thinking your golfing days are over. But don’t give up just yet. It’s not a question of if you’ll get back to swinging a club, but when. 

Generally, most golfers who have a total shoulder replacement can get back to their game within 4 – 6 months. You can expedite recovery time by following your surgeon and physical therapist’s instructions. 

If you love golf and need a total shoulder replacement or have already had one, continue reading this article for helpful information and tips on how to get back to your game quickly with minimal pain.

Things to Focus on For a Speedy Recovery

It usually takes about 4 to 6 months to get back in the game. Keep in mind that recovery is a personal process, and not a one size fits all ordeal. 

If your recovery goes as planned, your surgeon will probably let you begin putting around at about the 4-month mark. By the 6-month mark, you should be ready to play full swing.

Elbow Range of Motion

This very simple exercise will keep your elbow from getting too stiff while you wear a sling. 

  • Begin by removing your sling
  • Keep your arm bent at a 90° angle
  • Bend and straighten your arm (Pretend you are brushing something off your shirt. )
  • Do 30 repetitions of this exercise 3 times daily

Shoulder External Rotation

Here’s another simple exercise that decreases stiffness, increases range of motion, and targets the rotator cuff muscles.

  • Begin by removing your sling
  • Bend your arm at a 90° angle 
  • Swing your arm out until it is straight in front of you, keeping your elbow against your body
  • Do 30 repetitions of this exercise 3 times daily

Grip Strengthening

If you don’t want to end up on an episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos, practice this exercise to improve your grip strength. This exercise is also a good way to prevent blood clots. 

  • You can do this exercise with or without the sling, but removing the sling is probably more comfortable and gives your arm a chance to breath
  • Begin by making a tight fist or griping a rubber stress ball
  • Keep your hand in a fist for 10 seconds then relax. 
  • Do 30 repetitions of this exercise 3 times daily

Scapula Retention

This exercise is designed to strengthen, improve movement, and prevent stiffness. It will increase your range of motion in the long run. 

  • For this exercise, it is best if you are standing up straight. If that is not an option sit as straight in your chair as possible. 
  • Simply begin by squeezing your shoulder blades together (stick that chest out) 
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds and relax
  • Do 30 repetitions of this exercise 3 times daily

Supported Arm Pendulum

This exercise is very simple. It will help you stretch, keep blood flowing, and improve your range of motion. 

  • Begin by standing next to a table or chair
  • With the arm that did not have surgery bend at the waist and lean on the table or chair
  • Simply let your other arm dangle
  • Then begin to make small clockwise and counter-clockwise circles
  • Do 30 repetitions of this exercise 3 times daily

As always, check with your physical therapist before trying any of these exercises. Pain is normal, but be sure to monitor it. If it gets too intense or unbearable, take a break.

Things to Consider Before and After a Total Shoulder Replacement

Going into anything blindly is always a bad idea. This applies to joint replacement, too. Here are some things to consider before and after having a total shoulder replacement. 

Talk to your doctor

Skill and Experience Level of Your Surgeon

Do your research before letting anyone perform a major joint surgery. Ask your friends or family for recommendations. 

If you have a consultation with the surgeon, don’t hesitate to question them. In this busy world, doctors can get in a rush to treat the next patient. However, you must speak up and let the doctor know if you have any questions or concerns. Ask them what their qualifications are and how many surgeries they have performed. 

It may seem rude or awkward to question a medical professional, but ultimately it is your body. You need to be confident that whoever is operating on you can get you back to doing the things you love, like playing golf.

Skill and Experience Level of Your Physical Therapist

The skill and experience level of your physical therapist impacts how quickly you recover. Be sure you are working with someone who is experienced with total shoulder replacements. 

Mental and Physical Condition Prior and Post Surgery

A large factor that contributes to the speed and ease of your recovery is your overall mental and physical health before and after surgery. If you are an active person who eats well and does not smoke, drink, or partake in recreational drugs, then you are already ahead of the game. 

If you are not in good physical or mental condition before surgery, it will make your recovery much more labor-intensive and likely more painful. To expedite recovery, eat well, exercise, and quit smoking!

Time and Effort You Put Into Your Recovery

In life, you get what you give, so if you expect to bounce back with no work after surgery, you will be sorely disappointed. You can’t recover from surgery without putting some time and a lot of effort in. 

The surgeon has a difficult job, but the truly hard part is being diligent and self-disciplined when it comes to your recovery. Nobody can do it for you, and if you want to get back to the golf course, you will have to follow the directions of your surgeon and physical therapist.

Back to Golf After Shoulder Replacement

Shoulder Replacement Can Potentially Improve Golf Game

If you are experiencing pain every time you swing and your golf score is suffering, then there is a fair chance that you need to have surgery. You may be wondering if having a total shoulder replacement will improve your golf game. 

Studies indicate that golfers report significant improvement in their golf game, with some gaining up to five strokes per game and a notable increase in the length of their drive.

Why a Total Shoulder Replacement Will Improve Your Golf Game

A total shoulder replacement can change the outcome of your golf game for a couple of reasons. The surgeon will “clean” the socket, removing any bone spurs and damaged/scar tissue during surgery. 

The socket is then lined with high-density polyethylene material to keep the new joint moving smoothly. Once the surgery is done and you are healed, you should have regained most or all of your range of motion. 

With the scar tissue and bone spurs removed, you should have little to no pain once you are healed. Now that you are essentially pain-free and have regained your range of motion, you can work on improving your golf scores. 

A total shoulder replacement can improve your golf game

Proper Compliance Gets You on the Green Faster

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is for educational purposes only. This is not a substitute for a medical appointment. Please refer to your physician before starting any exercise program.