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Knee Pain Health Center

Tiger Woods' Knee Surgery: FAQ

An Orthopaedic Surgeon Answers 8 Questions About Tiger Woods' Arthroscopic Knee Surgery, Golf and the Knees, and More
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Woods is known for doing a lot of conditioning. Do you think that helped him?

He's in phenomenal shape, and I think that also was part of the reason why he was able to overcome that. Can you imagine yourself finishing second in a major golf tournament knowing you needed surgery? He's just physically and mentally amazingly tough.

What is the rehabilitation process like for the procedure he had?

Since I don't know what he had, I don't know what they're going to do. There are about eight to 10 different things they can do inside in a knee arthroscopy.

My guess is that he had something called a meniscectomy and chondroplasty. If that's what he had, and that's a big if, he would likely progress to what are called isometric knee exercises, try to reduce swelling, keep the leg iced and elevated over the first week or so. And then likely begin working on an exercise bike with limited tension and then progress to more weight-bearing and more loading over the course of the next three or four weeks. 

I don't know Tiger, but my guess is that his goal is to get back for the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego in mid-June, which is about six weeks or eight weeks away. And if he had what we're speculating he had, he should be able to be back for that.

We've seen with all types of athletes, however, that the rehab processes depend upon what happened yesterday in the OR. So the only two people who really know that are his surgeon and Tiger.

So it's something you could come all the way back from?

We all know Tiger. This is more as a golf fan -- he'll probably do anything he can to be ready for the U.S. Open. And I'll make a bet -- he'll be better. His physical conditioning prior to the surgery was spectacular. He's going to rehab a lot faster than most of us. Elite athletes simply just do better.

For the rest of us, at what point should someone be talking to a doctor about knee pain?

There's a spectrum of injuries that can occur.

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