Chelsea & Lionesses star Fran Kirby opens up on debilitating knee injury that left her unable to walk down the stairs

Fran Kirby Chelsea Women 2022-23Getty
  • Kirby aggravated knee injury
  • Misses World Cup with England
  • Opens up on long-term injury issues

WHAT HAPPENED? The 30-year-old attacking midfielder aggravated a recurring knee injury back in February, which had previously sidelined the Chelsea and England star for several months back in the 2016-17 season. It was a setback which would cost her place in Sarina Weigman's squad for the 2023 World Cup, which ultimately ended in defeat to Spain in the final.

WHAT THEY SAID: "It’s not my first rodeo with this knee,” Kirby said to The Times. “I knew in February, when I did it, that it wasn’t good, the pain was a little different to what I had experienced [before].

“As the weeks went on. I was making progress in the gym, it wasn’t as painful walking down the stairs as it was before, but then I went out on the pitch and, two sessions in, the same pain happened straight away. I just said, ‘Guys, what are we doing?’”

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“I couldn’t walk down the stairs, I couldn’t do normal things, couldn’t take the dog for a walk. The first month was really hard, because those things got taken away from me. If I can’t walk my dogs and I go home and I have to get up in the night, to take painkillers because you’re getting woken up by your knee, it’s not a life. It got to the stage where I knew my knee was impacting my life. I had to fix it.

“I knew I was going to miss the World Cup. But for me, it wasn’t about that any more. If I had surgery and it didn’t go well, at least I knew I’d be able to walk my dogs. If I can’t play any more, at least I tried."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Injuries have hindered Kirby throughout her illustrious career, with her long-standing knee issues, diagnosis of pericarditis (heart condition) and extreme fatigue all causing her to spend extended periods of time on the sidelines.


Fran Kirby England 2022Getty ImagesFran Kirby Chelsea 2022-23Getty Images

WHAT NEXT FOR KIRBY? Despite the extensive injury history and missing out on the World Cup with England, Kirby is now fit and ready for the new season, with the player crediting surgeon Andy Williams for “changing her life” prior to the 2023-24 campaign. Chelsea will kickstart their season with a clash against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.