University of Wisconsin freshman Paige McKenna underwent surgery on her injured hip on Tuesday.
McKenna won the NCAA title in the 1650 free at the 2022 NCAA Championship meet two weeks ago, swimming with two torn labrums. The labrum is the cartilage that reinforces the joint of the hip.
On Tuesday, McKenna underwent a hip arthroscopy, where doctors repaired the torn labrum in her hip and shaved down the extra bone that was causing the tearing.
McKenna won the 1650 free in 15:40.84 and finished 6th in the 500 free in 4:37.35 at the NCAA Championships. Those 33 points contributed to Wisconsin’s 100 point effort at the NCAA Championships that placed them 17th as a team.
In her post-mile interview at NCAAs, she said that she took up running during the pandemic and after running one time, she noticed pain in her hips. She pushed through increasing pain until she came to Wisconsin, where doctors discovered that she had a torn labrum in her left hip.
Then, a month before NCAAs, her right hip began to hurt, and she found out that she had a torn labrum in that hip too.
At the time, she said that surgery was an option, but that she hadn’t made a decision on that yet. She had been getting numbing injections in her hip to allow her to continue to swim.
The post-surgery prognosis is 3 weeks on crutches, followed by a return to the water in 3-4 weeks mostly focused on pulling with no turns or kicking. She says that likely means she’ll be in an endless pool.
She’s not sure when she’ll be cleared for racing, but the total recovery time to be cleared with no restrictions is 4-6 months.
That still means she’s out for the upcoming USA Swimming International Trials. At last year’s Olympic Trials, McKenna finished 34th in the 400 free, 29th in the 800 free, and 18th in the 1500 free. Her best time in that 1500 free would have placed 10th at the meet.
That should mean she’ll be ready in time to go full bore for the 2022-2023 NCAA season, if not shortly after the start, with a chance to defend her title in the mile.