While a common procedure, hip replacement is still major surgery, requiring weeks of intensive rehabilitation, and months of follow-up to get used to the new joint. For patients who played golf, getting cleared to return can be a worry. While a doctor will have to determine when the new joint has sufficiently healed, most golfers can return to playing anywhere from 3 to 9 months after hip replacement surgery.
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Stretch before playing golf, even if you're just planning to hit a bucket of balls. Using the methods taught in post-surgery rehab, stretch out your hamstrings, thighs and calves; this will increase flexibility and avoid unnecessary stress, as well as increase blood flow to the legs.
Rent a cart to avoid walking the entire course, which places unnecessary stress and fatigue on the hip joint. Walking a course is equivalent to approximately five miles; this is considered too much walking at one time on a replaced hip joint.
Wear tennis shoes instead of spiked golf shoes. Spikes can cause "rotational stress" on the new hip joint, or torque--both of which can exacerbate pain and re-injure the healing area. You can purchase spikeless golf shoes at stores specialising in golfing supplies.
Take your time to return to full strength. Begin with a partial swing, taking it easy; work up to a full swing gradually. Begin at a driving range, practicing with short irons and wedges before working up to woods and a driver at a full swing.
Tips and warnings
- Always consult with your doctor before returning to any sport, including golf.
- Strengthening the joint with doctor-recommended exercises will improve golfing abilities while minimising the risk of injury.
- Avoid carrying your clubs, as the weight places stress on the hip joint.
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