Can you resume playing golf after total shoulder replacement surgery?

The answer may well be yes. To replace the shoulder, a ball-and-socket joint, the surgeon inserts a metal prosthesis to replace the “ball” (the end of the humerus) and resurfaces the inside of the “socket” (glenoid cavity) with high-density polyethylene. Any nearby bone spurs are removed, and soft tissue adhesions and contractures are released.

Certain factors can influence whether you will be able to swing a golf club following surgery:

  • The skill of your surgeon. Your surgeon should have experience in replacing an arthritic shoulder. The procedure has been so refined that not only may the pain related to the arthritis be fully eliminated, but you may regain a range of motion that you have not had for years—actually improving your golf swing and game.
  • The skill of your physical therapist. We have long experience designing rehabilitation programs for golfers who have undergone total shoulder replacements. Early progression of range-of-motion exercises is key, despite any soreness or swelling. We will start gently and work up to building more flexibility and strength while keeping pain reduction at the forefront.
  • Your active participation in physical therapy. To facilitate your recovery, you have to commit to performing the necessary exercises as often as required, following our guidelines. This includes exercising in our facilities and at home for at least six weeks—often eight, or even more. But this diligence will pay off: You may well be back on the links in four to six months.
  • Your physical and mental condition. Individuals with certain conditions are less likely to obtain the full benefit of a shoulder replacement. These conditions include diabetes, obesity, Parkinson disease and depression, as well as rotator-cuff deficiency, shoulder joint infection and multiple previous shoulder surgeries.

If you are considering a total shoulder replacement, call us for a consultation appointment. We will give you a preview of a rehabilitation program that will have you fully recovered and playing golf in less time than you would have imagined.

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