Maintaining an Active Golfing Lifestyle: Exploring Advanced Surgical Options for Knee Injuries

Maintaining an Active Golfing Lifestyle: Exploring Advanced Surgical Options for Knee Injuries

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The prospect of major surgery can be daunting for golfers experiencing pain, but with the latest regeneration techniques, Professor Paul Lee, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at London Cartilage Clinic - MSK Doctors, reassures that players can return to the course within days.

Golf, while a low-impact sport, is not without its risks. A 2017 study revealed that up to 18% of golfers have sustained knee injuries related to play. Even Tiger Woods, one of golf's most renowned players, has undergone multiple knee surgeries. "Some of the forces exerted on our knees during golf are comparable to those in tennis or football," explains Professor Lee. "It's not just about prolonged force; a golfer's pivot during a drive can place up to five times their body weight on the knee."

A single, powerful drive can cause the most common knee injury among golfers – a meniscus tear. This occurs when the knee twists, damaging the menisci – the shock-absorbing cartilage between the shin and thigh bones. "Golfers may initially experience discomfort only during play, but it can worsen, persisting even after the game," says Professor Lee. He advises seeking specialist advice for any symptoms lasting over six weeks.

Professor Lee, both a doctor and an engineer, understands the critical importance of the meniscus structure. Utilising advanced surgical techniques combined with biological methods, he focuses on repairing and healing the meniscus, thereby preserving its essential function in the knee joint. "If it's a small meniscal tear, it might settle down. However, torn cartilage lacks a natural repair mechanism, much like a broken tooth," Professor Lee clarifies. Fortunately, with early diagnosis, pain-free movement can typically be restored.

Meniscal tears are often treatable with a 45-minute keyhole procedure or arthroscopy. This minimally invasive surgery involves inserting a thin tube into the knee through a tiny incision. Surgical instruments are used to repair the tear, with recovery being remarkably swift. "Recovery time varies, but a club golfer can usually return to competition within eight to twelve weeks," Professor Lee notes.

However, delaying treatment can lead to further knee damage. While full knee replacement was once the only solution, recent advancements offer alternatives beneficial for maintaining an active lifestyle. At London Cartilage Clinic, Professor Lee specializes in partial knee resurfacing. This less invasive procedure, focusing on resurfacing only the worn area, allows for quicker recovery and retains natural knee movement.

Partial knee resurfacing at London Cartilage Clinic is typically performed as day surgery. Professor Lee aims for patients to start practicing six weeks post-procedure, gradually building up to a full round. "The recovery time might be longer than arthroscopy, but it's significantly shorter than total knee replacement. Plus, with 85% of the knee remaining intact, patients report a much more natural feeling," he adds.

Professor Lee emphasizes the importance of early diagnosis to ensure that pain doesn't hinder your golf game. With the right treatment and expert care at London Cartilage Clinic, returning to the sport you love is more achievable than ever.


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