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

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.

What about sports other than golf?

Soccer and skiing knee injuries are often traumatic -- you fall, you get taken out by a slide take. Those are usually more severe.

Overuse injuries can be made better or prevented by flexibility and proper training. ... Figure out how to maintain the flexibility of the tendons around your knee but also change your training. Don't run in the hills five days a week. Run on a treadmill or try to bike every other day vs. running five straight days.

With sports, is it the same knee risks for men and women?

Women's knees -- there's sort of an epidemic of injuries in women, especially who play things like volleyball and basketball and soccer. I've operated on more young women in the last five years because of soccer injuries probably than almost anything else.

It's not 100% clear why. It may be more women participating at higher level sports. It may be anatomically where their ligaments are in the knee or it could actually even be hormone-related. People are trying their best to figure out how to stabilize women's knees better in a preventive fashion, so they're teaching balance and coordination preseason. There's a lot of time and effort going into trying to better understand that question. I don't think we have a great answer right now. 

What we do have is a lot more active women, which, ironically, I'll say is better because the more active women are, especially at a younger age, the better they're going to build their bone. Weight-bearing or load-bearing exercises, especially for women from their teens to probably their early 30s, is crucial for building that bone mass for later on. So I wouldn't want them to be less active. I'd like us to figure out how to prevent them from hurting themselves.

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