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Golf puts stress on replacement knees

Swinging a golf club, considered a low impact activity, places as much stress on artificial knee joints as does jogging or tennis.

Golf puts stress on replacement knees

Swinging a golf club, considered a low impact activity, places as much stress on artificial knee joints as does jogging or tennis. So why is golf so stressful on the knees, particularly the leading knee - the left knee of a right-handed golfer? According to researchers this could be due to inertial forces transferred from the upper body and the twisting that takes place at the knee during the swing. American researchers did a study on four patients who had total knee arthroplasty using artificial joints capable of measuring knee forces. It was found that jogging, tennis, and golf produced the greatest force on the knees. Walking on level ground produced less force than these activities and walking on a treadmill generated even lower force. Biking produced the lowest force. Biking has been recommended as a safer exercise than jogging for patients with knee pathology (disease) or prosthetic replacements. In contrast, exercising on a stationary bicycle generated relatively little force on the knee, even lower than walking on a treadmill. This information could help doctors decide which recreational activities are suitable for knee replacement patients. Knee replacement patients should not necessarily stop playing golf, tennis, or jogging but they should consider modifying the activities so they cause less strain on the knees. As for future research, the researchers are currently collecting tremendous amounts of data over several activities and conditions, such as skiing, rehabilitation, exercise, and recreational equipment. They also wish to investigate the effect of orthotics and braces on knee joint forces.
Annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons,
February 2008
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