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Returning to golf after ACL surgery


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#31 Brianm423

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 02:31 PM

Update:  I'll be at the 4 month mark this upcoming weekend since ACL & meniscus recon on my left knee (swing right).  I've been going to therapy 2x a week since the end of the December and I'm making great progress according to the Doc and my therapists (PT'ed pre-surgery also for 3 months).  Just the other day (Friday) I decided to hit balls in the backyard and the knee felt great.  Was hitting 4 and 8 irons full speed and felt like I never even had a surgery.  Granted, I was hitting into a net so couldn't see ball flight, but contact and feel felt pretty good.  I'm really tempted to try playing 18 sometime this month.


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#32 jor17

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 12:28 PM

I had surgery January 23, 2014, which makes 2 days from now 11 weeks.  Just had doctor's appointment yesterday, he ended up draining some fluid but otherwise I have full range of motion (a little discomfort when bending knee all the way to butt).  

He cleared me to hit 6-iron or higher, and he said in about 1 month (15 week mark), I should be able to play uninhibited.  He said 16 weeks is generally his threshold.

Any tips as I start swinging again?  I had left ACL with hamstring graft and I'm a righty.  

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#33 bepo

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 04:30 PM

Like a lot of posters here I also tore my left ACL and meniscus, did it playing basketball. Luckily I am left handed so it's my back knee that had the repair. I am 3 months post-op now and have been hitting golf balls at the range for the last month and able to play the last two weeks. The knee feels almost 100% but the doctors are taking it slow with new activities. I guess that's the benefit of still being young :)

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#34 jor17

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 05:00 PM

I'm 28, and before surgery my doctor (who is a golfer), said 2 months - chipping/putting, 3 months- irons, 4 months - unlimited.  I'm basically on that time  frame but going to take it slow.  

I'll probably wear my brace first few times to the range and open my stance up a bit to lessen the torque.
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#35 Tanner25

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 07:22 AM

I am wondering if I tore something in my knee. But, if I can put full weight on my knee and leg with no limping, is it likely just a sprain and something that will get better in time? I'd say it's mild and periodic pain. I went to the doctor for this two years ago the first time it happened and it was nothing and got better on it's own. Recently, I tried to keep my right foot down at impact and that started it again.

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Edited by Tanner25, 10 April 2014 - 07:24 AM.


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#36 Brianm423

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 09:55 AM

View PostTanner25, on 10 April 2014 - 07:22 AM, said:

I am wondering if I tore something in my knee. But, if I can put full weight on my knee and leg with no limping, is it likely just a sprain and something that will get better in time? I'd say it's mild and periodic pain. I went to the doctor for this two years ago the first time it happened and it was nothing and got better on it's own. Recently, I tried to keep my right foot down at impact and that started it again.

Tanner

I can tell you that I was able to put full weight on my knee with no limping...run long distance, play basketball, workout, golf, etc and I had a torn ACL and meniscus the entire time.  It was after all those activities that I would feel mild to moderate discomfort and pain.  I had a torn meniscus for 12 years (highschool baseball injury) and I have no idea when the ACL tore.

My recommendation is to get an MRI done.  That's the only way you'll know for sure.

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#37 limoric

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 09:13 PM

View PostTanner25, on 10 April 2014 - 07:22 AM, said:

I am wondering if I tore something in my knee. But, if I can put full weight on my knee and leg with no limping, is it likely just a sprain and something that will get better in time? I'd say it's mild and periodic pain. I went to the doctor for this two years ago the first time it happened and it was nothing and got better on it's own. Recently, I tried to keep my right foot down at impact and that started it again.

Tanner

A physiotherapist will be able to tell you if you have an ACL or not; there's a test. If it's just a tear, not an evulsion; RICE and it will heal.

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#38 jgood

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 05:45 AM

I am about to be 7 weeks post op, and I start light running next week, and also I get on a cybex to test leg strength.  Ive been chipping and putting for the past 2.

I have been taking light half swings with no real downward torgue yet.  I feel that I am close to full swings, but I am still waiting until I start running for a few weeks to build more strength up.

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#39 jor17

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 11:21 AM

I'm at 11.5 weeks since surgery on my left ACL with hamstring graft.  Went to the range for an hour yesterday after my surgeon (who is a golfer) cleared me to hit 6-iron through wedges.  

Took me a while to get comfortable with weight transfer and releasing the club.   I kicked out my front foot 20-30 degrees to open up my stance and take off some of the torque, but once I got the handle on it, my knee felt great and I was hitting pretty solid 6-irons, all things considered (1st time swinging in 6 months, 12 weeks post-op)

Most of the internet says 4-6 months to return to golf, but I trust my doctor and my knee didnt feel unstable at all yesterday.  No swelling today.  The plan is in about 3-4 weeks I'll be able to hit driver and go from there.  My doctor was adamant that 16 weeks is all you really need.
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#40 Brianm423

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 10:19 AM

Update #2.  Played 18 holes this past Saturday and I felt great.  First time playing since surgery (Dec) and first round since Oct.  Hit my irons and wedges great from the start, driver and woods took a few holes.  Short game was very close.  Lipped out many putts.  I'm just extremely happy I felt no pain...and even happier that I was able to play.


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#41 Rodabodem

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 10:39 AM

I've had many injuries in my life that I continued playing with that I wish I hadn't. I played regionals in highschool with a bad acl, played state with a hairline fracture on my wrist, etc. Injuries need to heal. Don't force it. Glad you're doing well.
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#42 Zuerst

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 01:33 AM

I had left knee ACL reconstruction and repairs about 2 weeks ago.  My driver swing speed was in the 105 - 110s and I have pretty much stiff shafts for most clubs.  You think maybe I'll need to start back up with regular or even softer flex shafts??? (probably going to sell most of my clubs for now...)

Hahaha I know, it is barely after the surgery and I have yet to have my first postop visit... and it'll be a lllllooooonnnnngggg time before I attempt to come back.

Edited by Zuerst, 24 April 2014 - 12:00 PM.


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#43 Wolf4birdie

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 05:30 PM

View Postjgood, on 02 April 2014 - 05:37 AM, said:

I am about 5 weeks post.  I am walking with no crutches(@ 3wks), and doing PT 2 times a week(then everyday 2x at home).  I was told that I wouldnt be golfing until June/July and thats because they are holding me back.  The big thing is making sure the bone grows over the tendon which they claim takes 12 weeks(min).

My plan is playing by the end of May.  I have just chipping and putting for the past week or so.

Ive got the itch and it sucks!

Just found this thread..  I had my left knee replacement done the same day as you.  (2/26)  

My knee actually feels pretty good.  I'm hitting therapy pretty hard right now, and actually started Pilates this week to help balance out the rest of the body.

I have our member guest on June 26th and the surgeon told me I could play, but I wouldn't be 100%.  That will basically be 17 weeks.

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#44 jor17

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 10:45 AM

I am 14 weeks.  Doctor told me I'll have to wear an ACL brace while playing from weeks 16-24 to ensure that the 4-6 month period is not at risk.
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#45 BHerschberger

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Posted 01 June 2014 - 02:12 PM

I just came upon this as I tore my right ACL (right handed) and had surgery almost 4 weeks ago. For those who have torn their back ACL, how long did it take for you to be cleared for chipping/putting and then full shots?


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#46 jor17

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:47 PM

View PostBHerschberger, on 01 June 2014 - 02:12 PM, said:

I just came upon this as I tore my right ACL (right handed) and had surgery almost 4 weeks ago. For those who have torn their back ACL, how long did it take for you to be cleared for chipping/putting and then full shots?

I had surgery in January, was cleared to chip/putt after 2 months but it was March and too cold in NY so I didn't rush it.  Started hitting 6-iron through wedge at 3 months, and played fully with driver at 4 months with ACL brace.
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#47 BrewCru

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 01:17 AM

I'd like to share my recent experience here. I'm 7 months out now, and just started back swinging last month. Tore my left ACL playing soccer. I had a hammy surgery, and had a lot of my meniscus trimmed off as well. I'm 32, and a righty. My swing is terrible at the moment. I know it'll come back in time, but it's a drag for the time being. I've noticed that like many of you, my biggest issue has been making adjustments to keep weight off my knee. The confidence just isn't there yet.

I've been good with keeping up on my PT, and the strength is still slowly coming back. I got my first 18 in the other day since I tore my ACL, and shot the worst round I've had in over decade... a 97. My short game was great, but my driver/woods/irons were all over the place.

I know everyone recovers at their own speed, but I'm really hoping that by the start of next year I'll be back around 100%. My surgeon recommended a 6 month period before taking any swings, and it amazes me that some of you were back at it in half that time.

Regardless of how bad my swing is at the moment, it feels great to be back!

Cheers

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#48 Dougieag

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 09:27 AM

I had ACL surgery 2nd June this year. I also had torn meniscus, fractured femur and other ligament damage - pretty bad. I'm coming up for 3 months post op now and have been at the driving range 3 times in the past couple of weeks. Thought I would be just be hitting wedges but felt no pain whatsoever and by he end I was going full tilt with my driver. Heading out on the course next week. Pre and post op physio and rehab is SO important. Everyone is different but anything is achievable. When I first busted my knee I never ever thought I would be hitting balls, not holding back, so quickly. Even if you asked me a few weeks ago I would never have thought it would have recovered as it has

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#49 2TUNED

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 06:56 PM

This thread was the first thing I looked at after my surgery to figure out what to expect. The insights and stories from all who have posted were extremely helpful and motivating, so I thank you. In that spirit, I'd like to add my own experience in the hope that it may help some other poor bastxxx down the line.

View PostDougieag, on 29 August 2014 - 09:27 AM, said:

I had ACL surgery 2nd June this year. I also had torn meniscus, fractured femur and other ligament damage - pretty bad. I'm coming up for 3 months post op now and have been at the driving range 3 times in the past couple of weeks. Thought I would be just be hitting wedges but felt no pain whatsoever and by he end I was going full tilt with my driver. Heading out on the course next week. Pre and post op physio and rehab is SO important. Everyone is different but anything is achievable. When I first busted my knee I never ever thought I would be hitting balls, not holding back, so quickly. Even if you asked me a few weeks ago I would never have thought it would have recovered as it has

I had my surgery the same day as you, and I'm pretty impressed that you haven't really had any pain (especially considering you had what sounds like a  much more damaged knee than me). I had a donor ACL replacement, a little meniscus repair, and a microfracture procedure to help with the cartilage damage to my femur. I've been doing PT 2x/week most weeks, but didn't do as much cycling as I probably should have at first. I'm better about that now, and believe me it makes a big difference so get started with that ASAP.

That said, I started swinging pretty quickly. Probably sooner than I should have, but... whatever. Started with a round of mini-golf at 4 weeks (shot 8 under, boom!). Began hitting the range with nothing longer than PW around 6 weeks. After about 50 balls I'd definitely start feeling some weakness and the next day it would hurt, so I dialed that back. Instead, I'd play the par 3 course since it's only really 9 full swings and a leisurely 1 mile walk. Occasionally I'd go to the practice greens after work, you really can't hurt yourself too bad from putting.

It's very hard to bench yourself. I'm a single guy with a freelance job, and therefore have a lot of time to play. It was brutal forcing myself not to, but I came to an important realization one day after a range session that didn't feel comfortable. I felt myself doing all sorts of strange things with my body to take the pressure off of my lead knee and realized that, at best, I was ruining my golf swing. At worst I could undue everything I'd worked (and paid lots of money) to repair. But mostly it was realizing that practicing in a wounded state isn't really practice, and not at all worth the long-term risk.

I think around 9 weeks I played a throwaway full 18 with a couple friends. I hit the shots I felt comfortable with and picked up my ball when I didn't feel like getting out of the cart. Definitely wouldn't recommend doing that though, that was just dumb and unnecessary. According to my docs, 10-12 weeks is a very critical period. As I understood it, the new tissue is being integrated into your body and damage done during this time can be permanent.

At 13 weeks I started hitting my longer clubs at the range, 14 weeks was hitting driver a few balls a session. September 27th, almost 4 months post-op, I played my first full, proper score-keeping round in Palm Springs. It definitely got fatigued around the turn, but after that it felt okay. Played again the next couple of weekends, and I really don't worry about it much anymore. Ice and ibuprofen are your best friends, but rest assured it's going to be stiff/sore the next day or two. I reckon it will be for a while, and I'm okay with that. But I'm back to full swings, got my driver back up to about 115mph and I'm no longer worried about doing any major damage to myself. From here it's just about continuing to strengthen the leg muscles and being patient. I've tried to slow down my swing a tad in the name of both injury prevention and improved accuracy, but sometimes I forget and just go full speed. It's nice that I can, at least.

Some quick notes:
  • My PT guy is TPI certified, and that's a great bonus if you can find one. I asked him how I would know when to call it quits during a round, and he said if you feel soreness, fatigue, anything muscular, you're okay, but you become more likely to hurt it for real so be careful. If it's a sharp pain, a constant pain inside the joint, stop. Luckily I never felt anything like that.
  • I never used a brace, and was told not to. Braces, they say, are for shock absorbing in sports like snowboarding. For things like golf, the idea is that your muscles are supposed to be doing the work to get stronger.
  • If you hurt your lead leg like I did, definitely turn your front foot outward about 30° to help take some of the torque off the knee. As it heals and the pain decreases, you can close your stance back up.
  • Take the opportunity to improve your short game! At first all you can do is chip and putt, so get excited about the fact that, when you return, you'll be better at those scoring shots than you were before. I'm so much more confident around the greens now.
Lastly, and most importantly, I'll add that I know for a fact I'm going to come out of this in much better shape overall than I went in. We all have different bodies, different injuries, we all heal differently. Me, I was in decent shape before my surgery but my main activities were golfing (walking whenever possible) and hiking. But now I go to PT twice a week and exercise specifically the muscles I need for golf. I joined a gym to continue my workouts the rest of the week, so I bike 8-12 miles a day and then do the rest of my workout. My stamina and conditioning are better overall as a result. I feel and look better. You know how Rory has a super strong core and added 10 pounds of muscle or something and now he can control his swing speed? I feel the same thing happening to myself, and it's great (I don't expect to win any majors, of course). You may even start to eat healthier, and the domino effect will carry on well beyond your golf game.

It's a ton of work, and patience is your greatest virtue. But you'll see progress every day as you heal and get stronger, and if you put in the effort you'll be so much better for it, I promise.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to post here. You've helped a complete stranger get back on his feet. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to order that new G30 driver that I'd always planned on treating myself to once I got back in good shape ;)

Edited by 2TUNED, 28 October 2014 - 07:32 PM.


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#50 tomjmclaughlin

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 11:27 AM

Bump, great thread that I stumbled upon earlier trying to figure out recovery time and if it's worth getting a membership at a local course next year.

I tore my ACL in my right knee back in June, am going in for surgery next Wed (Oct 7). I will post a few updates for recovery statuses to hopefully help someone in the future. Going with hamstring surgery, I am 29, and have been doing quite a bit of prehab since I waited 4 months to get the surgery. 4-6 months would put me at February-April which might work out okay for me for next season because I live in the Midwest.


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#51 beachguy

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Posted 05 October 2015 - 12:26 PM

Just did surgery patella in February.  Your picking the best timE of the year.  Also it goes by fast.  I Actually knocked off 3 strokes after the break it really slowed me down...so it helped.
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#52 Cops

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 10:57 AM

I read this thread before I had surgery on 13/5. Ruptured left ACL and meniscus repair. (Had my right one done 20yrs ago) . This time I had a hamstring replacement to repair it , I woke up in a leg brace which I officially get rid of in 2 days (that's 6 weeks). The recovery really does go in stages, I was off the crutches after 10 days and I had 105 degree bend by 3 weeks. It's now a matter of building the strength up. I don't really need the brace and I do take it off more often than not . I bought a turbo trainer and have been doing a bit of cycling every day (really recommend this) it makes me feel like I am getting somewhere . See the surgeon on wed this week and wil ask about golf but I hope to be fully playing by 6/8 (11 weeks).
You sometimes think you are not getting anywhere but then you find your way over another hurdle . The swelling will go down , the knee will bend more, or in my case straighten fully because I struggled a bit with this, you gain psychological strength as you go along. I'm getting there.
Good luck to anyone in a similar position

Edited by Cops, 20 June 2016 - 10:58 AM.


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#53 stickner

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 08:43 PM

I had my right ACL done 25 years ago. At the time I was a left-handed golfer. I wasn't ready to take swings and finish on my right side when golf season arrived so I stood with all my weight on my left leg and taught myself to play right-handed. I stuck with being a righty (except for putting).

The surgery 25 years ago is barbaric compared to what is available these days.

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#54 baddomes

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 02:51 PM

Bumping this thread.

Had an allograft done on 1/4.  Started PT today.  Extension at 4* and flexion to 90* at this point.  Still walking with crutches as support, but feeling better every day.  Got the "homework" from PT to do 2x daily and icing every 25 min when I'm hanging out.  PT scheduled 2x/week through the end of Feb at this point (they wouldn't let me schedule any further out).

No brace from the doc.

Good stories on here from people who have gone through it.

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#55 TheLetterSee

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 08:30 PM

I tore my MCL, ACL and Meniscus in my left knee in April of 2015. My swing definitely changed and I went from shooting 75-80 to 80-90+. I'm starting to take lessons and my coach said he is going to give me some drills that really focus on weight transfer and turning into my left side to try and get that mental block out of my head. I can post the drills here if you'd like. I played with a brace for awhile but it is unbranded because I got it from the Milwaukee Bucks organization (my high school was a short walk to the practice facility so at the end of the season they gave us their extra braces, wraps, etc.) so I don't know exactly what brace it is. It looks like a McDavid level 3 brace with the hinges covered with fabric and there is no hole where the knee cap it, it is covered with fabric.

I actually slightly tore all 3 the week prior to sectionals of the state tournament and I didn't want to see the doctor. Played a long, hilly course and through walking and swinging I finished the job. Ended up shooting a 124 after shooting an 79 to qualify.

Edited by TheLetterSee, 14 January 2017 - 08:33 PM.

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#56 baddomes

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 03:39 PM

I actually tore mine January 2016 and played 95 rounds before getting it fixed. Maybe I just don't transfer my weight at all during the swing but it never bothered me during the round (except climbing out of bunkers or stepping in an unexpected hole or something). I guess I'm not too worried about the mental block. It can't be worse than playing golf with no ACL, right? As long as it doesn't hurt I'm cool.


It was the worst after I'd be sitting at my desk for a few hours and then getting up and walking around. Knee would "jolt" back into place.

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#57 TheLetterSee

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 04:12 PM

View Postbaddomes, on 15 January 2017 - 03:39 PM, said:

I actually tore mine January 2016 and played 95 rounds before getting it fixed. Maybe I just don't transfer my weight at all during the swing but it never bothered me during the round (except climbing out of bunkers or stepping in an unexpected hole or something). I guess I'm not too worried about the mental block. It can't be worse than playing golf with no ACL, right? As long as it doesn't hurt I'm cool.


It was the worst after I'd be sitting at my desk for a few hours and then getting up and walking around. Knee would "jolt" back into place.

Yeah getting up was the worst. It would feel like there was a piece stuck in the hinge of my knee and I had to move it around so I could straighten my leg.
Nike Vapor Pro 8.5* - Diamana Blueboard S+ 60 S
Taylormade M2 Tour 15* - Kuro Kage Silver TiNi 70 S
Cobra F7 3-4 Hybrid 19.5* - Aldila Rogue Black 85H X
Cobra King Pro CB 4-PW - Project X 6.5
Callaway MD3 Black Shamrock LE - 50, 54, 58 - Tour Issue DG S200

Bettinardi Queen B 8 35.25" - Lamkin Deep Etched Cord w/ 4 wraps under top hand

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#58 therealjonzone

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 08:13 PM

View Postbaddomes, on 13 January 2017 - 02:51 PM, said:

Bumping this thread.

Had an allograft done on 1/4.  Started PT today.  Extension at 4* and flexion to 90* at this point.  Still walking with crutches as support, but feeling better every day.  Got the "homework" from PT to do 2x daily and icing every 25 min when I'm hanging out.  PT scheduled 2x/week through the end of Feb at this point (they wouldn't let me schedule any further out).

No brace from the doc.

Good stories on here from people who have gone through it.

Single leg pool squats as soon as your scar/stitch area is sealed.

I did that extensively combined with the rehab, and was hitting full 7 irons in about 8 weeks, after full reconstruction. At 3 months post op I was 6 months recovery, and combined with a lot of treatment/deep tissue on the breakdown of the scar tissue really helped.

Edited by therealjonzone, 16 January 2017 - 08:13 PM.


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#59 baddomes

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 11:19 AM

4.5 weeks post op - PT progressing nicely.  At about 125* flexion and 2* short of full extension.  Getting good muscle definition back in the quad.  Doing 60lb single leg presses.  Doing very shallow squats.  Ditched the crutches a week and a half ago and walking with no issues at all.

Going to start chipping and putting this weekend.

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#60 baddomes

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 12:07 PM

6 weeks post op today.  Squatting (body weight) down well past 90 degrees, focusing on good form.  Still not quite there.  Single leg presses now at 80 lbs.  Riding the bike with very little resistance.  

PT is cautioning me to take it slow.  Swelling is completely gone and the knee feels less stable because of it.  No issues with the graft but still working on strength in the quad/calf.  

Seem to be right in the middle of the revascularization phase where they say the new ligament is weakest.  Should be feeling better in a couple of weeks.  

Bummed to not be taking advantage of this amazing winter we've had so far in DC, but chipping and putting aren't an issue.  Keeping me somewhat sane.  And the break from playing is certainly healthy for my relationship.


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