Getting Back On The Green

Many injured golfers dream of returning to the green and teeing off again after a rotator cuff repair. However, swinging golf clubs again will take time and patience. About 19% of athletes, including golfers, suffer shoulder injuries like a torn rotator cuff. Although minimally invasive surgery shortens the recovery window, the body still needs time to heal. Depending on the extent of the injury, some golfers can return to the sport in as little as 6 weeks. However, regaining range of motion (ROM), strength, and power can take longer. With the proper recovery, resuming golf can happen sooner rather than later.

When is rotator cuff repair needed?

A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. Together, the components help to lift and rotate the arm. Rotator cuff tears occur when muscles and tendons in the area are overused or injured. For example, repetitive motions or a fall can cause one of the tendons to tear. Some minor injuries can heal with immobilization and physical therapy (PT), but more severe tears may require surgery. Rotator cuff repair often happens using minimally invasive surgery. With small incisions, the surgeon can access and treat the damaged tendon with less downtime for the patient.

All about rehab

The goal of a good rehabilitation program after rotator cuff repair is to minimize tendon stress and promote healing. The program should also be customized to fit the patient’s individual needs. Rehabilitation should begin with gentle resistance exercises to promote healing and reduce pain. During the first 2-4 weeks of post-operative physical therapy, the focus is on pain control and restoration of motion. Strengthening exercises are introduced in the third phase of treatment.

Ready to tee off?

Returning to the game after rotator cuff repair will be a slow and gradual process. Depending on the severity of the injury, the patient may need extra time to return to the green. A physical therapist with expertise in golf can help with the swinging technique. Poor swing mechanics often cause rotator cuff injuries, so correcting bad habits before returning to play is essential. Build up gradually, starting with light swings, increasing the intensity and weight as the shoulder heals. Be sure to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the shoulder regularly. A stronger rotator cuff will help support the shoulder and reduce the risk of future injury.

Get swinging

A rotator cuff repair is a common surgery that can help golfers play again. Since the surgery is minimally invasive, patients can heal faster. However, rehabilitation is necessary to swing a golf club again and prevent future injury. Follow the instructions of the doctors and physical therapists closely to get back on the green again soon.