Abbey D’s “Unhappy Triad”

Photo from Sports Illustrated

We asked two clinicians who have contributed injury insights as guest bloggers on AthleteBiz for their take on Abbey D’Agostino’s knee injury. Emily Kraus and Brian Fullem’s comments are combined below:

Abbey’s knee injury is commonly referred to in the sports world as the “unhappy triad” (injury to the ACL, MCL and medial meniscus). With an isolated ACL injury, Abbey may have been able to compete in the 5km final, however with the MCL and especially medial meniscus involvement, the risk of instability is too high for her to safely compete.  Although it depends on the extent of her injury, she will likely require surgical repair of the ACL and while they are in there they can choose to excise the torn piece of meniscus or repair it.  The Anterior Cruciate Ligament prevent the femur from sliding forward over the tibia. Rehab will take at least 9-12 months before return to full training. Injuries like this typically result in post traumatic arthritis later in life.

It is an uncommon injury for a distance runner but there is not any reason to believe that Abbey won’t be able to run at the same level or higher after she recovers.

We look forward to your return to the track Abbey!


Dr. Brian Fullem practices at Elite Sports Podiatry in Clearwater, FL. He ran 14:25 for 5K while at Bucknell University.

Emily Kraus, MD is a Fellow at PM&R Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Stanford University, School of Medicine

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