Can You Play Golf With A Torn ACL? Dreaded Knee Injury Explained | Liga Prima

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Tearing your anterior cruciate ligament – regularly abbreviated to ACL – is 1 of nan worst sporting injuries you tin endure.

Trust me, I know.

I tore my near ACL successful 2011 playing football, and 1 reconstruction and 2 arthroscopies later (to cleanable retired scar tissue) location are decidedly days wherever I tin consciousness that my knee has been surgically repaired.

But, I’m surely not unsocial arsenic while it’s a superior injury, it’s besides highly communal – betwixt 100,000 and 200,000 group tear their ACLs successful nan United States alone, pinch that number acold greater worldwide.

Once an ACL is torn, aliases ruptured, it cannot heal connected its ain owed to mediocre humor proviso and nan champion people of action is to person it surgically reconstructed utilizing a portion of your ain insubstantial (most commonly either your hamstring aliases patella tendon).

But nan large question, particularly for golfers who person suffered this wounded but person yet to get it fixed, is: tin you play play without an ACL?

The ACL is nan cardinal stabilising ligament successful your knee, and without it nan associated becomes unstable and, arsenic a result, susceptible to further wounded – particularly erstwhile placing large rotary loads done nan knee specified arsenic during nan play swing. You tin play play without an ACL, but you consequence doing much harm to nan aboveground cartilage, aliases meniscuses, recovered wrong nan joint.

As personification who has knowledgeable life pinch and without an ACL, I would – from ain my individual experiences – highly counsel against playing play if you’ve torn your ACL and haven’t undergone room to reconstruct it.

In nan weeks aft my injury, my knee became very unstable and would sometimes buckle astatine nan slightest alteration of guidance – or simply erstwhile walking – and I couldn’t person imagined swinging a play nine without an ACL.

If you are desperate to get backmost retired connected nan people quickly, 1 measurement to perchance do truthful is by wearing a knee brace (such arsenic nan MODVEL Knee Brace, which you tin bargain from Amazon) arsenic this whitethorn springiness you immoderate added support – however, this does travel pinch risks.

If you further harm your knee earlier your surgery, it whitethorn effect really good you retrieve aft your cognition and moreover perchance lead to early-onset arthritis later successful life – and, personally, I don’t deliberation there’s immoderate constituent risking nan semipermanent wellness of your associated complete a fewer rounds of golf.

Since I’ve had my ACL reconstructed, I play play regularly – up to 3 times a week – without immoderate rumor astatine all, and my knee feels stone coagulated and highly unchangeable (I tin still springiness driver a rip and have plentifulness of clubhead speed).

There are a fewer forums online wherever immoderate amateur golfers opportunity they’ve played play pinch a torn ACL, but I would surely counsel against this based connected my ain experience.

If you’re unsure what to do, consult pinch a aesculapian master (either your expert aliases surgeon) and they will intelligibly explicate nan risks to you astir playing play pinch a torn ACL and whether aliases not it is advisable to do so.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries

What is an ACL/how is it injured?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is 1 of 4 ligaments recovered successful your knee, and is nan astir important successful keeping your knee unchangeable by preventing your tibia (shin bone) from moving excessively acold guardant connected your femur (thigh bone), aliases rotating excessively much.

The different 3 ligaments – nan posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), lateral collateral ligament (LCL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) – besides assistance associated stability, but obscurity adjacent to nan level of nan ACL.

This is why nan ACL is nan easiest ligament successful nan knee to injure, owed to its important domiciled successful keeping nan knee stable.

The ACL is commonly injured successful 2 ways: pinch aliases without interaction to nan knee joint, and I’ll explicate some below.

Without contact

This is by nan acold nan astir communal measurement nan ACL is ruptured and usually occurs successful high-paced sports that require move aliases abrupt stop-start changes of directions astatine velocity – specified arsenic football, hoops aliases soccer.

It’s highly uncommon for golfers to tear their ACLs during a round.

An jock tin tear their ACL by planting their ft earlier attempting to alteration guidance – nan shearing mobility wrong nan knee joint, caused by nan tibia rotating 1 measurement and nan femur different way, whitethorn lead to nan ligament rupturing.

The aforesaid action tin hap erstwhile landing from a jump, causing nan knee to buckle.

You will often perceive a ‘pop’ and consciousness contiguous symptom erstwhile nan ACL ruptures.

With contact

This is nan little communal measurement to tear your ACL and occurs erstwhile different jock falls crossed your limb – either from nan side, aliases from nan beforehand – forcing nan knee associated into an unnatural position and causing nan ligament to rupture nether nan excess load.

This is much apt to hap during interaction sports, and is nan measurement that I tore my ACL each those years ago.

When a interaction ACL wounded occurs, it’s highly apt that different parts of nan knee associated will beryllium damaged successful nan process – astir commonly nan MCL and nan meniscus (which is simply a portion of cartilage that acts arsenic a daze absorber successful nan knee).

An wounded to nan ACL, MCL and meniscus astatine nan aforesaid clip is referred to arsenic nan ‘Unhappy Triad’ by orthopaedic surgeons.

How does a torn ACL impact your play swing?

Arguably nan astir important measurement to make powerfulness and consistency successful your play plaything is done the usage of your legs, and being capable to rotate effectively.

Having a torn ACL successful either your lead aliases way knee whitethorn impact your play plaything successful nan pursuing ways:

Lead leg

Your lead leg absorbs nan astir unit during nan play swing, and besides rotates nan astir – particularly arsenic you move done from nan backswing, into effect and past ‘posting up’ connected your limb successful that classical finishing position.

If you person a torn ACL successful your lead knee, this whitethorn inhibit your expertise to make a afloat move during your backswing.

You whitethorn besides beryllium reluctant to displacement your weight backmost onto your lead broadside during nan downswing and decorativeness pinch a consecutive lead limb for fearfulness it could buckle owed to instability created successful nan absence of a fully-functioning ACL.

As a result, you will apt suffer some powerfulness (and subsequently distance) and consistency successful your swing.

Trail leg

During nan backswing, a important load is placed done your way limb arsenic your weight transfers to your way side.

Similarly, your way limb is highly important during nan downswing successful bid to statesman shifting your weight backmost to your lead side – often by ‘pushing off’ your way leg.

A torn ACL successful your way leg, and nan instability it tin cause, whitethorn consequence successful you being incapable to load efficaciously successful your way broadside during nan backswing, aliases push disconnected during nan downswing.

Both tin besides spot a nonaccomplishment of powerfulness and consistency successful nan swing.

Tiger Woods 2008 Tiger Woods had room successful 2008 to repair a torn ACL.

Should I play play pinch a torn ACL?

There is simply a large quality betwixt whether you can aliases should play play pinch a torn ACL.

Yes, you can play play pinch a torn ACL, but that doesn’t mean you should.

From my ain individual experiences, I would not urge playing play pinch a torn ACL for nan pursuing reasons:

  • The deficiency of an ACL will make your knee acold much unstable and susceptible to further wounded owed to nan terrible rotational forces nan play plaything places done your knees (especially your lead knee)
  • Further harm to nan knee tin make your eventual reconstructive room much complicated, and perchance impact your betterment post-operation
  • Further harm to nan knee, specified arsenic to your aboveground cartilage aliases meniscuses, has been proven to property to early-onset arthritis
  • It will apt origin you pain, making your information acold from enjoyable
  • You will subconsciously statesman to ‘guard’ your injured knee erstwhile you plaything and create bad habits complete clip that will person a antagonistic effect your game

How do you hole a torn ACL?

Due to a deficiency of humor proviso to nan ligament, erstwhile nan ACL is torn it cannot heal connected its ain – nan only measurement to resoluteness instability is to execute knee reconstructive surgery.

During this procedure, which is performed nether wide anaesthetic, a trained orthopaedic surgeon will drill into nan knee (sounds gruesome, I know) and hole a graft successful spot betwixt nan tibia and femur that complete nan adjacent 9-12 months will mature into a caller ACL.

There are 4 choices of graft that tin beryllium utilized – hamstring, patella tendon, quadriceps tendon and allograft. Each are outlined beneath successful greater detail.

Hamstring graft

The hamstring graft is becoming progressively utilized for amateur athletes owed to its debased philanthropist tract morbidity, strength, easiness of fixation wrong nan knee, and little incidence of early onset arthritis.

It’s a awesome action for group who kneel a batch astatine activity (as nan graft isn’t taken from nan beforehand of nan knee, for illustration nan patella tendon graft, and will little apt lead to anterior knee pain).

During nan reconstruction, nan surgeon will usage a stripper instrumentality to region your semitendinosus and gracilis tendons, which will past beryllium stitched together and utilized arsenic nan graft.

This is nan graft I utilized for my knee reconstruction.

Patella tendon

Long considered nan ‘gold standard’, this graft action involves removing nan mediate 3rd of your patella tendon on pinch bony plugs from your kneecap and tibia.

This graft is highly beardown and nan bone-to-bone fixation intends you tin typically commencement much strenuous rehabilitation exercises earlier than different graft options.

The main downside is that removing nan mediate 3rd of nan patella tendon tin lead to anterior knee pain, and successful immoderate cases an accrued chance of early onset arthritis.

Quadriceps tendon

This is simply a newer method being adopted by immoderate surgeons arsenic an replacement to nan hamstring aliases patella tendon options.

It involves nan surgeon removing nan mediate 3rd of your quadriceps tendon, and besides a bony plug from nan apical of your knee cap.

The benefits of this graft is nan decreased chances of anterior knee symptom (due to avoiding utilizing nan patella tendon) and little likelihood of post-surgery hamstring weakness (by avoiding utilizing nan hamstring tendons).

While it is little commonly used, nan quadriceps tendon graft is becoming a much accepted action for ACL reconstruction.


This involves utilizing nan patella tendon, hamstring tendon aliases quadriceps tendon of a deceased person.

The benefits of utilizing an allograft is location is nary harvest tract morbidity (as nan surgeon isn’t utilizing nan patient’s ain tissue), meaning little symptom and often faster rehabilitation.

The awesome downside of nan allograft is studies person shown it to beryllium acold weaker than nan patella tendon, hamstring aliases quadriceps tendon graft, starring to higher chances of re-rupturing nan graft.

ACL Surgery - 3D Reconstruction

Which ACL graft is amended for golfers?

When factoring successful anterior knee symptom post-surgery, philanthropist tract morbidity, ligament spot and easiness of fixation, I would opportunity nan hamstring graft would beryllium nan champion graft for golfers to use.

However, this is only speaking from my individual experiences – you should talk pinch your expert aliases surgeon to determine which graft is champion for you.

For reference, Tigers Woods utilized a hamstring graft erstwhile he had his near knee reconstructed successful 2008.

If it useful for arguably nan top golfer of each time, it tin surely activity for nan play warrior.

How quickly tin I play play aft ACL surgery?

The aesculapian proposal varies, but astir online resources propose you tin return to playing play astir 4 months post-surgery if you utilized a patella tendon graft, aliases six months if you utilized a hamstring graft.

The earlier return clip for nan patella tendon graft is apt owed to nan stronger bone-on-bone fixation, whereas nan hamstring graft takes longer to fuse itself wrong nan knee.

But, arsenic is ever recommended, you should speak to your expert aliases surgeon and get nan ‘all clear’ earlier teeing it up connected nan play people again.

The past point you want is to re-rupture nan ACL graft and beryllium required to person nan process again.

Disclaimer: I do not declare to beryllium a aesculapian master for I americium not one. Everything successful this blog station is based connected my ain investigation and individual experiences. You should activity aesculapian proposal for thing related to torn ACLs aliases playing play pinch a torn ACL.

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Former master shot player, early scratch golfer, and presently hitting play balls for his aureate retriever to bring back.

Drew lives successful nan United States and writes for ProjectGolfAU pinch his bully friend, Lewis.


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