Tiger Woods has returned home after his February 23 car accident in Los Angeles County. Woods’ SUV crossed the center median and the opposing traffic lane before rolling over several times, eventually stopping.
Following the accident, fans learned that Woods was taken to the hospital where he had a rod inserted in his lower right leg to stabilize the area crushed during his accident. Doctors had to place screws and pins in his ankle and foot to stabilize additional injuries.
Doctors also performed fasciotomies, a procedure in which the foot and ankle area's muscle is opened to relieve pressure and swelling, preventing the disabling condition known as compartment syndrome from occurring.
Woods had what’s known as comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower tibia and fibula. “This term means that the two bones of the lower leg were fractured into many pieces and the skin and soft tissue around these pieces tore open, allowing the bones to be in contact with the outside environment,” says Dr. Michael Hawks, AdventHealth’s lead orthopedic trauma surgeon.
Recovering With Physical Therapy and Rehab
Now, Woods has left California where he had his accident and began the initial stages of recovery, and he’s back at home in South Florida. In a statement he made via Twitter, Woods let fans know that he “will be recovering at home and working on getting stronger every day."
Woods has recovered from five spinal surgeries , the most recent being in December 2020, and he was anticipating a return to golf this spring, prior to the car accident.
With the help of rehab and physical therapy, Woods will hopefully have a quicker recovery of mobility and independence and, ultimately, a faster return to activity.
AdventHealth Sports Med and Rehab Clinic Manager David Garcia, PT, DPT, OCS, says, “Woods has a long road of recovery ahead of him,” adding, “A period of non-weight bearing will be in place to allow for healing of the surgery. Physical therapy will initially work on desensitizing the skin from the trauma and restoring his motion with manual therapy mobilizations.”
Then, “Rehab will transition into strengthening the ankle, knee and hip complex to normalize his gait,” Garcia explains. “Balance will most certainly be affected with his injuries and proprioceptive training will play a big role in his recovery. Sport-specific training will be the final phase of recovery, but it may take up to a year to reach this phase.”
As for returning to golf, Tariq Awan, DO , an AdventHealth family medicine physician with a focus in sports medicine, says, “Woods will unlikely be able to compete in golf at his previous level. Being able to play golf recreationally and doing recreational things would probably be a big win.”
But we’ve learned never to count Woods out. “Woods is no stranger to surgery and recovery; however, this one may be his biggest battle yet. We wish him the best of luck during this challenging recovery,” Garcia adds.
AdventHealth Sports Med and Rehab
Learn more about ways advanced orthopedic care can help you heal from injuries. For more information about injury prevention or to speak with a physical therapist, visit AdventHealth Sports Med and Rehab .
Image courtesy of Keith Allison, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/, via Wikimedia Commons