Strength, Fitness, and Flexibility Are Key Factors to Tiger Woods' Recovery and to Avoiding Future Injuries
ALEXANDRIA, VA, June 24, 2008 — With the announcement that
Tiger Woods will take the remainder of the year off to undergo ACL
(anterior cruciate ligament) surgery, the American Physical Therapy
Association (APTA) offers consumers information on what to expect
regarding recovery from this major knee surgery.
APTA spokesperson Bud Ferrante Jr, PT, OCS, MTC, who works with both
professional and amateur golfers at his private physical therapy
practice in Carmel, CA, says that full recovery from ACL surgery
typically ranges from six to eight months when the ligament is
completely healed. "Of course, every individual is different," says
Ferrante. "A typical golfer post ACL surgery could be back on the golf
course as soon as six months following surgery -- if the golfer works
with a surgeon and physical therapist and follows the plan of care."
Ferrante notes that the first week post-surgery is mostly about
controlling swelling, pain, and getting patients to start moving as soon
as possible. "Individuals who undergo surgery similar to Tiger's often
use crutches for the first week following surgery to limit the
weight-bearing on the knee and then progress to one crutch or a cane,"
Physical therapy starts immediately after surgery, several times a
day at first, beginning with very gentle knee range of motion exercises,
notes Ferrante. Depending on the extent of the swelling, a physical
therapist will then work with patients who undergo surgery such as
Tiger's on progressive range of motion exercises that focus on regaining
any lost knee motion. Once the knee is healed, the physical therapist
would work on helping the patient strengthen the muscles around the
knee, including the hamstring, and quadriceps muscles.
"The most important thing following ACL surgery is that patients
avoid any type of twisting motions of the knee and not overdo the
activity in the first few weeks of healing. The knee takes about four to
six weeks to heal. If swelling increases, this could impede recovery,"
said Ferrante. Post-surgical ACL patients need to be careful going down
stairs and to avoid certain exercises such as knee extensions.
How to Avoid ACL Surgery
APTA says that awareness of proper posture and the importance of
fitness and flexibility are just as important for weekend golfers as
they are for the pros. Golfers should have access to a physical
therapist who can assess their physical abilities and provide
individualized training programs that address musculoskeletal balance,
body mechanics, strength, posturing and cardiovascular fitness.
Just as in professional tennis, there has been a significant increase
in injuries among professional golfers, primarily because the game has
changed so drastically and training has become so intense. According to
APTA, it is now the norm, not the exception, for professional men and
women golfers to work with physical therapists on improving these
factors. But, warns APTA, it is vital that these programs be tailored to
their individual skills.
Professional golfers make it look easy, but the golf swing is
actually one of the most difficult and complicated movements in all of
sports, requiring stability in some joints and flexibility in others.
Having proper motion, strength, and function throughout the swing play a
large role in preventing injuries. The payoff of a better swing is a
more accurate ball strike, greater distance, and reduced stress on the
muscles and joints.
Consumers can learn more about how physical therapists can get them
back on the green as well as how to "Find a PT" by going to www.moveforwardpt.com.
Physical therapists are health care professionals who diagnose and
manage individuals of all ages who have medical problems or other
health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform
functional activities in their daily lives. Physical therapists examine
each individual and develop a plan of care using treatment techniques to
promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent
disability. Physical therapists also work with individuals to prevent
the loss of mobility by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented
programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.
The American Physical Therapy Association (www.apta.org) is a
national organization representing physical therapists, physical
therapist assistants, and students nationwide. Its goal is to foster
advancements in physical therapist education, practice, and