Running 3,200 Miles Across America on Two Partial Knee Replacements

So in April, 2021, I had a partial knee replacement at the Stone Clinic. I was on the medial side of my right knee, which had become bone and bone and this actually followed up the same procedure in 20 19, 2 years before on my left knee. So I've had two partial knee replacements at the Stone Clinic. I said about doing rehab here in San Francisco initially and then went back to Ireland. Slowly got back into running and exactly a year later, I started a run across the USA, beginning in Boston and running over 3,200 miles to Santa Monica here in California.

Richard is a great example of an athlete in their fifties who has bone-on-bone changes in their knee joint and have been told they need to stop running and wait for their total joint replacement. In fact, when we looked at Richard's x-rays, he had bone-on-bone changes only on one side of each of his knees, the medial side of his joint. So for Richard, a driven athlete, we went ahead and did a partial knee replacement using the MACO robotic system and a number of little adjustments that we've worked on and figured out over the years here at the Stone Clinic to help him set his goal to return to running, to rehab hi both of his knees in a way that would permit him to regain full motion in full normal gait and then returned him back to his passion of long-distance running. We have learned that over the last 30 years, if we place the partial knee replacements perfectly, patients can with optimal rehab and with a host of other fine tuning return to full sports without concern for knocking their implants loose. Because of that, we don't limit our patients. We encourage them to return to sports, and Richard is a beautiful example of returning to high-level running on his partial knee replacements.

The interesting thing in this run for me was when I did previous runs, I always had an issue with my knees. I always felt some kind of pain at the front of my knee, like tendonitis or whatever. In this run, I felt absolutely nothing in terms of pain. It was like it was reborn again and my legs felt amazing. And it was, you know, it was the first time I think in years I can remember running without leg pain. And I thought it might come only if I'm honest, but I never did. Because it was a real test, you know, to do that kind of mileage day after day that was going really test the legs and they responded great. And so, you know, I can honestly say I finished at Santa Monica Pier without any pain whatsoever.

I finished my TransUSA run with no knee issues whatsoever… I doubt very much that anybody has ever run across the USA on two partial knee replacements. People are definitely talking about it, saying it must surely rewrite the medical books! Full credit to Dr. Stone.
- Richard Donovan

In this interview, we catch up with Richard Donovan after his unprecedented cross-country run on two partial knee replacements performed by Dr. Stone at The Stone Clinic. See how Richard's story started with us here

Richard Donovan is an ultra marathon runner, extreme adventurer, and Race Director/participant in the World Marathon Challenge. In this race, Richard leads a group of long-distance runners on an adventure around the world comprised of 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days. After years of wear and tear from this long-distance running lifestyle, Richard began to experience the effects of arthritis in both of his knees and was told by his doctors that he needed a total knee replacement that would end his long-distance running career. Richard was not satisfied with this prognosis and found The Stone Clinic while seeking a surgical solution that was able to safely return him to running. 

Richard traveled from Galway, Ireland to San Francisco where Dr. Stone performed a successful partial knee replacement surgery on Richard's left knee in June of 2019 and another partial knee replacement on his right knee in 2020.  

One year after his second of two partial knee replacements, Richard embarked on a remarkable run across the continental United States. He started his TransUSA Run at the Boston Marathon in April and finished his run 3,200 miles and 16 states later at the Santa Monica Pier in California. Running 40+ miles per day on his partial knee replacements, it was a truly phenomenal accomplishment and an absolute inspiration to injured athletes everywhere. You may read about Richard's finish in this Irish Times article

For more on Richard's treatment, check out a full feature of his story in the article from Triathlete Magazine "Can I Still Run After Knee Replacement Surgery?"

Richard Donovan Triathlete Magazine Knee Replacement

Further reading on Richard's run available here: 

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Explore all your options. Learn about procedures that can help you return to sports & delay or avoid an artificial knee replacement.

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Saving My Knee Guide

Saving My Knee Guide
Learn about procedures that can help you return to sports & delay or avoid an artificial knee replacement.