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Swinging Back into Action: Returning to Golf After Shoulder ArthroplastyIntroduction

As a fellowship-trained orthopaedic sports medicine surgeon, I often encounter patients who are passionate about golf and concerned about their ability to return to the sport following shoulder arthroplasty. A recent article published on Healio provides valuable insight and reassurance for golf enthusiasts who are considering or have undergone shoulder arthroplasty.

Understanding Shoulder Arthroplasty

Shoulder arthroplasty, or shoulder replacement surgery, is a procedure that involves replacing damaged parts of the shoulder joint with artificial components. This surgery is typically recommended for patients who experience severe shoulder pain or limited mobility due to arthritis or other degenerative conditions. The primary goals of shoulder arthroplasty are to alleviate pain, restore range of motion, and improve overall function.

Returning to Golf After Shoulder Arthroplasty

According to the Healio article, a recent study found that patients who underwent shoulder arthroplasty were able to return to golf without pain. The study revealed that the majority of participants were able to resume golfing within six to 12 months after surgery. However, it's important to note that individual recovery timelines can vary depending on factors such as age, overall health, and the specifics of the surgery.

Tips for a Successful Return to Golf

  1. Follow Your Rehabilitation Plan: Adhering to the prescribed rehabilitation plan and working closely with your physical therapist are essential for regaining strength, mobility, and function in your shoulder. Be patient and consistent with your recovery process.

  2. Gradual Progression: When returning to golf, start with short game practice (chipping and putting) and gradually progress to full swings. This allows your body to adapt and reduces the risk of injury.

  3. Proper Warm-up and Stretching: Warming up and stretching before playing can help prevent injuries and improve your overall performance. Focus on dynamic stretches that involve movement, such as shoulder circles and arm swings.

  4. Strengthening Exercises: Incorporate shoulder-specific strengthening exercises into your fitness routine to help build muscle and protect your joint. Your physical therapist can provide guidance on appropriate exercises.

  5. Listen to Your Body: Be mindful of any pain or discomfort you may experience while playing. If you feel pain, stop and consult your healthcare professional before resuming activity.

  6. Consult with a Golf Professional: Working with a golf professional can help you make adjustments to your swing and ensure proper technique, reducing the stress on your shoulder joint.


The prospect of shoulder arthroplasty can be daunting for avid golfers. However, the findings discussed in the Healio article offer encouragement and demonstrate that it is possible to return to golf without pain after undergoing this surgery. By following your rehabilitation plan, being patient, and taking the necessary precautions, you can successfully get back on the golf course and enjoy the sport you love.


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