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August 21st, 2008
01:40 PM ET

Tiger Woods: Will the swing return?

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

Every year in the United States, there are around 200,000 ACL injuries a year. As you might guess, they are most common in soccer, football and basketball. So, when you heard about Tiger Woods golf injury, you may have been a little surprised. In fact, he has had four knee operations since 1994, with the most serious one being on June 24th of this year. As you watch this video, pay close attention to the left knee and the amount of torque that is placed on it. There is a pivot like motion that orthopedic surgeons seem to believe caused the problem.

The operation itself is a fairly straightforward one but now the name of Tiger’s game is rehab.

Woods tell us in his blog that he is more mobile than a month ago, and that he spends most of his rehab time riding a stationary bike. It sounds like he would look a lot different as well. He says he has lost 10 pounds of muscle and is mainly eating a raw and organic diet. The kicker is that he is not even planning on swinging a golf club until next year. That’s quite a change of lifestyle for someone who has played golf for almost his whole life.

When Tiger does come back, he may have a different swing than the one he has now. He may not be able to generate the same amount of force and may not have the same pivot that we are so accustomed to seeing. If you had to assign a number to it, between 82 -95% of athletes do make a recovery. (watch my report)

Have you ever had knee surgery, arthroscopic or a ligament repair? What was the most challenging part of rehabilitation? Did you ever get back to full function?

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Presley

    I LOVE TIGER!
    I watched every minute of that tournament even the play off on Monday, I was cheering!!!
    Knowing and witnessing his tenacity and determination, Tiger will not fold to his temporary state. He knows how to fight and fights to win.
    He will once again be the exception.

    August 21, 2008 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Will O'Neill

    I'm an ex-collegiate wrestler who has undergone two knee surgeries. I had both done at the Cleveland Clinic by a very reputable surgeon. Unfortunately, unlike Tiger, I did not take enough time to recover. This resulted in my second and soon to be third surgery. I believe he is making the right decision in not swinging a club; once he does, as we have seen throughout his years, he will not stop. I am sure he will come back with more passion and enthusiasm than before and amaze us all for year to come.

    August 22, 2008 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. David

    I have had ACL repair surgery twice on my left knee. The first rupture was the result of a skiing accident, and the second time I retore the repair playing tennis. I have tried to take up golf the last couple of years but due to the torque on the left knee have decided it's a bad idea(unless I play left handed). Hope he has better luck, sounds like he is being smart and taking his time gettng it back up to full strength at least – worry that long term he may suffer from knee problems though given the amount of stress he's placing on it.

    August 22, 2008 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Michael K. Haftel

    I'm a long distance runner and I had orthoscopic surgery on my left knee. I was stationed in Stockholm, Sweeden at the embassy and I ran 5 or 6 days a week and my knee suddenly started to hurt and swell. I saw an orthopedic surgeon who said I might have torn carteledge. He said the orthoscopic surgery would be the diagnostic tool as well as the treatment.

    There was no tear, so the doctor just clean up the knee with a device that looked like a combination roto-rooter and blender blade. For the next week my knee "squooshed" as the water used to blow the joint up slowly left the area.

    I began to run again in about a week and was doing my usual 15 mile long Sunday runs from my house to the King's Garden and back in about two months. The pain slowly disappeared, but only after I started to add a weight training regimin with weight machines. I haven't had any more problems with that knee. Now, I have metatarsalgia - runners can never win...

    August 22, 2008 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.