Knee injuries and golf

Knee injuries count for about 10% of all golfing injuries. The twisting 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 cartilage (meniscus).


A torn meniscus is a common knee injury often caused by a sudden twisting movement while putting weight on the knee but as we get older, the cartilage may also weaken and tear over time, and we may not even know it unless we develop symptoms. A minor tear following an injury or an existing cartilage tear that starts causing symptoms can often be managed with conservative treatment such as physiotherapy. If someone experiences a catching or locking sensation, is unable to straighten the knee and has frequent pain and problems with mobility, he or she may opt for an operation called a knee arthroscopy, in which the meniscus or part of the meniscus is removed. Another option is a meniscal repair, in which the torn cartilage is anchored to the bone and repaired. Playing golf can also aggravate pre-existing knee problems such as a torn cartilage or early arthritis.

Studies show that people who have a part of the cartilage removed are at greater risk of premature arthritis. So if a golfer has meniscus surgery, he or she should consider intensity of play, body mechanics and the benefit of targeted exercises prior to returning to the game to decrease the risk of early arthritis. Tips for Golfers with a Cartilage Injury Warming up, including basic exercises and stretching prior to play, has been shown to reduce the risk of injury. Hitting long-distance shots is more likely to aggravate symptoms. Consider initially clubbing down for shorter distance strokes including short irons or pitching wedges, as these are less likely to cause knee pain. Increased twisting or shearing forces across the knee can cause or exacerbate symptoms; using soft spikes may decrease these forces.

During set up, rotate the lead leg out to the side 20-40 degrees to reduce the amount of twisting and pressure on the knee during the final stages of swing Use a ball retriever to eliminate the need for deep squatting to retrieve the ball 18+ times each round. Use ice following each round for about 20 minutes. Use a towel or cloth; never put ice directly on the skin.


Knee pain: Can a healthy lifestyle and loosing weight help?


The answer to the question is YES.

Scientific research has shown that even small reductions in body weight can significantly reduce the symptoms of joint pain.

Research has shown us that a 5% to 10% reduction of body weight can dramatically reduce joint pain and improve your ability to exercise.

If you are overweight try to look at this as a positive, you can help yourself.

No one is suggesting that losing weight is easy. Weight loss is difficult when you have bad joints; however, there are ways to exercise that do not place too much stress on the joints of your body.

Diet is also important and getting support from your family doctor, dietician or nutritionist can help.

These positive lifestyle choices will have additional health benefits too.

Exercise for Joint Pain:

Exercise is important for people with arthritis here are some examples you may wish to consider:


Pilates is a great way to strengthen the important muscles in the body (the core) in a low-impact, safe manner. Pilates has become a popular tool for injury treatment and prevention even with professional athletes. Pilates is safe for the joints.

Aqua Aerobic:

Working out in the water is  a way to perform normal activities with less impact compared to working out on land. Water workouts can involve aerobics, walking, jogging or just about anything else.


Swimming is great exercise full stop! With swimming, your joints are supported by the water, which can ease arthritis pain.


Cycling is a low-impact exercise, but the motion of cycling is stimulating for the cartilage within a joint. Cycling gives a good muscular and cardiovascular workout and loosens up stiff joints common in people with arthritis.

Weight Machines:

Training with weights can help strengthen muscles and is also an excellent way to stimulate bone health.


May not be the best workout for those with arthritis but walking for exercise is certainly better than no exercise at all. The WHO recommend 10,000 steps a day! Try Nordic walking to work the arms and give some support to the knees

Get Out and Exercise

Exercise has been shown to be useful for patients with arthritis both before and after major surgery.

Seek advice from your family doctor, local gym or physiotherapist on starting an exercise programme to help manage your knee pain.

References: Rooks DS, et al. “Effect of preoperative exercise on measures of functional status in men and women undergoing total hip and knee arthroplasty.” Arthritis Rheum. 2006 Oct 15;55(5):700-8.

Laennec’s Baton: A Short History of the Stethoscope

Interesting to learn the history of the humble stethoscope. Has it now had its day though?

The Chirurgeon's Apprentice

2Since its invention in 1816, the stethoscope has become one of the most iconic symbols of the medical profession. Yet there was a time when doctors had to assess the inner sounds of the human body unaided. In 350 B.C., Hippocrates—the ‘Father of Medicine’—suggested gently shaking the patient by the shoulders, while applying one’s ear directly to the chest in order to determine the presence of thoracic empyema, or pus in the lungs. For over a thousand years, medical practitioners would follow in Hippocrates’s footsteps, relying on only their ears to diagnose chest infections in patients.

All this changed in the 19th century, when the French physician, René Laennec (below), was presented with a young, female patient who was ‘labouring under general symptoms of a diseased heart’. Laennec tapped on her torso with his fingers—a technique called percussion—to determine whether fluid was present around her heart. Unfortunately, this didn’t…

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