Tiger Woods has an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his knee, but says that “there will be no long-term effects” according to his doctors. Even the best doctors in the world cannot say that there will be no lasting consequence from this major knee injury. No surgery is going to give him a brand new, pristine knee. Oh yes, there will be consequence as he gets older. Even a Tiger will succumb to aging.
The cruciate ligaments (anterior and posterior) are critical for knee stability. They keep the lower leg from rocking back and forth. Plus, these ligaments resist twisting. After surgery and rehabilitation, the damaged knee will not be as tight as the other knee. Even a small difference, creates a snowball effect over time. Joints wear out faster when the stabilizing structure is damaged and loose. Eventually, the cartilage will become rough and worn. Post-traumatic arthritis will start to bother Tiger as he gets older. Returning to professional athletics will speed up this process.
Speaking of a snowball, what will happen to the rest of the body as a consequence of this injury? A chain reaction will occur. The primary problem lurking in the tall grass, ready to pounce on Tiger is a back injury. Oh yes, many golfers wear out their backs quickly. But because of the leg injury, Tiger is at much higher risk for back injury. Plenty of research has verified the fact that athletes with previous leg injuries are much more likely to develop low back pain. Watch out Tiger!
I am sure that Tiger has plenty of assurances going into surgery. The worst thing is not what you don’t know, it is what you think you know but you really don’t. Like a snake in the grass. The fact is that Tiger Wood’s knee injury will have long-lasting effects.
How can I be so sure? Not only am I a rehabilitation specialist who treats orthopedic injuries, I also tore my cruciate ligament 30 years ago. I am dealing with the consequences of a permanent knee injury and now a back injury. My advice to Tiger and everyone: be kind to your body because you can’t exchange it for a new one.