The challenge is on next month for Europe to retain the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles. The perfect time to get that swing right, or is persistent knee pain hampering your game?
Arguably the biggest event in the world golfing calendar rolls into Scotland next month when the best golfers from Europe take on an elite team from the USA.
Of course, it’s Ryder Cup time again when amateurs watch in awe as the professionals play precision golf strokes under the glare of the media and a lively home crowd.
So, if the ultimate golf play-off tournament inspires you to get out on the course more often – what’s stopping you?
Knee problems can be treated
For many golfers, both professional and amateur, problems affecting their knees can put paid to professional careers and a sport that is both competitive and great exercise.
Of course it doesn’t have to be like that. There is no need to suffer when the green sward is calling and the good news is that surgery is not always the most obvious treatment.
Nick London, a specialist knee surgeon at Yorkshire Knee Clinic, who works in Harrogate and Leeds, says early examination and diagnosis often means that knee surgery can be avoided.
“Knee injuries are surprisingly common on the golf course but most respond to simple treatment and rehabilitation. As with all knee injuries early prompt diagnosis and a clear treatment plan can improve the ultimate outcome,” he says.
Common golfing injuries
Here a few conditions that can occur without early diagnosis and treatment.
Knee meniscus (‘cartilage’) tears are often thought to occur with sports that involve rapid twisting, but unfortunately the reality is more mundane.
The rotational movement of the golf swing or simply squatting down to line up a putt or remove the ball from the hole can cause a tear through the knee meniscus. These sometimes don’t produce pain until the knee swells over a few days. It is therefore not uncommon for golfers to be unable to recall the initial injury.
A torn meniscus produces pain and occasionally catching/locking sensations that limit enjoyment or participation in activities. Knee arthroscopy to perform meniscus surgery is often required to treat these injuries if they fail to settle with simple measures.
Minor (and rarely major) knee ligament injuries can be caused by slipping on wet grass or stumbling in the rough.
These can vary from the most common ligament injury – medial collateral (down the inside of the knee) – to cruciate ligament damage resulting in instability (but fortunately this is rare).
The first signs of wear in the knee (osteoarthritis) can be felt on the golf course with gradual onset of discomfort, swelling and stiffness spoiling the enjoyment of the round.
Star players & their knee injuries
Despite their backroom staff of coaches and physios, knee injuries also affect the great and the good of golfing.
According to media reports Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia suffers from adema (swelling) on his left knee kneecap and cartilage on his left knee joint, while recently, Northern Irish star Rory McIlroy refused to blame his dip in form on knee pain caused by cartilage problems.
Perhaps the most celebrated golfer with ongoing injuries is Tiger Woods, whose career has been beset with injuries. The player recently had surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee, although recent reports suggest a full recovery and a return to his trademark long drives.
With sports knee injuries early diagnosis is the key to optimal outcome
Nick London says the key to achieving the best possible outcome for all knee injuries is early accurate diagnosis because delays can compromise recovery.
“The knee specialists at the Yorkshire Knee Clinic work collaboratively with expert musculoskeletal radiologists (using the latest imaging techniques) and specialist physiotherapists to provide rapid diagnosis and a clear treatment plan for all knee injuries from simple knee meniscus or ligament injuries to major dislocations.”
He adds: “Ensuring patients fully understand their knee injury is critical whether they are elite professional athletes or involved in sport at a recreational level.”
About the Yorkshire Knee Clinic
Dedicated to the diagnosis and management of knee injuries and orthopaedic knee conditions, the Yorkshire Knee Clinic represents an innovative partnership of Consultant Knee Specialists and associated professionals.
Yorkshire Knee Clinic – help for knee problems in the heart of Yorkshire
Appointments can be made by contacting BMI The Duchy Hospital 0800 015 2049 or Mr London’s office can be contacted on 01423 369 119.
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