2017 TCS New York City Marathon champion Shalane Flanagan had surgery to repair her right patellar tendon at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado yesterday, and described the situation in an Instagram post earlier today.
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Road to recovery starts now! So grateful for the Steadman Clinic, Dr. LaPrade and his amazing team!! @thekneedoc ~~~~ Apparently my discomfort and pain these past months were valid. In medical terms: I had torn 75% of my patella tendon off the bone in my right knee. So the doctor had to clean up the old tendon, graft a cadaver tendon and reattach it to the bone. We also did PRP and bone marrow injections, bone marrow was extracted from my hip. We did this in both knees (since left one hurts but not nearly as bad as the right). The injections should help with the healing. ~~~~ Yesterday was super uncomfortable 😣 but I know that everyday is going to get better. I’m off to therapy now💪🏼 Thank you for all the kind words and support 🙏🏼❤️
Torn patellar tendons typically do not heal on their own, and Flanagan posted on Monday that she would be traveling to Colorado for surgery.
She says her right patellar tendon (which connects the kneecap to the shinbone) was 75 per cent detached, leading the surgeon to graft a new tendon from a cadaver into Flanagan’s leg. She had injections of PRP (platelet-rich plasma) and bone marrow concentrate using bone marrow from her hip into both knees in an effort to speed healing. (PRP has been used with various other famous athletes such as Tiger Woods and Rafael Nadal, but there has been very little research on its efficacy.)
The surgery was done by Dr. Robert F. LaPrade, a complex orthopedic knee and sports medicine surgeon at The Steadman Clinic in Vail.
In 2017, Flanagan was the first American woman to win the New York Marathon in 40 years. Last year she finished in third place, behind Mary Keitany and Vivian Cheruiyot. It was just after that that she revealed the extent of her knee pain. She will likely spend the next few months recovering from surgery.