Tiger Woods' Knee Surgery: FAQ
An Orthopaedic Surgeon Answers 8 Questions About Tiger Woods' Arthroscopic Knee Surgery, Golf and the Knees, and More
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
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
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.
If you have mild pain without a lot of swelling, you can see how that goes
over a week or two, talk to your primary care doctor, maybe do some physical
therapy. But the concerning things that lead to surgery are persistent
swelling, persistent clicking, catching, locking, or sensation of instability
in your knee.
The best ways to avoid injuries to your knee is to maintain excellent
strength and flexibility -- stretching exercises
for your hamstrings, your Achilles [tendon], your quads. ... The use of an
exercise bike is a phenomenal way to strengthen your knee without impacting it.
I do this myself three or four times a week -- I will either ride a regular
bike or an exercise bike to maintain strength and fitness around my knees. And
I've taken hundreds, if not thousands, of my own patients through an exercise
bike program that I think is very valuable for maintaining that.