ICYMI — Good News About Returning to Golf After Shoulder, Hip, and Knee Replacement

70-90% of patients return to golf 3-4 months after joint replacement; in terms of likelihood of return, THA beat TSA, which beat TKA

ICYMI — Good News About Returning to Golf After Shoulder, Hip, and Knee Replacement

What’s the Claim?

A meta-analysis of 23 observational studies suggests that 70% (95% CI 39% to 100%) of patients will be able to return to playing golf after TKA, 80% (95% CI 68% to 92%) will return after shoulder arthroplasty, and 90% of THA patients (95% CI 82% to 98%) will be able to hit the links. Patients who were able to golf returned at a mean of 3.8 months (95% CI 2.9 to 4.7), 6 months (95% CI 3.7 to 8.4), and 4.5 months (95% CI 3.2 to 5.8) after knee, shoulder, and hip replacements, respectively. The bad news? Surgery delivered no clear improvement in patients’ golf handicaps.

How’s It Stack Up?

We covered this one for our Joint Replacement subscribers in CORRelations a few weeks back, but Brian Gilmer MD, our advisor for Arthroscopy/Sports, believed it important that the sports audience see it, too, and we agree. For a deeper dive on why the estimates made in this study probably were rosy across the board, check out that earlier post. But since this is the sports section, let’s talk sports. Other systematic reviews have looked at how often patients return to sport after joint replacement, and the numbers here were generally in the ballpark of this one. Still, some details from those other studies are worth mentioning: People who return to sport after shoulder replacement generally were those who practiced that sport within a few months of surgery, and in that same study, people may have been less likely to return to tennis than to golf or swimming, but the confidence intervals were very wide and did overlap, so this is not a finding we have great certainty about. With the same main caveat — low certainty — implant type may matter, with anatomic total shoulder arthroplasty perhaps outperforming hemiarthroplasty or reverse total shoulder arthroplasty in terms of likelihood of returning to golf, as found in another systematic review. That confirmed the main result of another study that also offered some good news — more than 70% of patients returned to play at a similar level or better after recovering from surgery.

What’s Our Take?