Whether you’re a mom on the go, a weekend warrior, or an elite athlete training for your next marathon, an injury like Achilles tendonitis can leave you hobbled for days and sometimes weeks.
The good news? You don’t have to wait around with your ankle dunked in an ice bucket.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) offers a better, faster way to recovery, and in this blog, our team of experts at Somers Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Group walks you through exactly what to expect.
What happened to my Achilles tendon?
In the simplest terms, Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury that impacts your Achilles tendon, the tough band of connective tissue that attaches your calf muscle to your heel bone.
Although anyone can injure their Achilles tendon, it’s most common among active folks. You use your Achilles tendon whenever you walk, run, jump, or push up on your toes. Overworking the tendon strains it and, in the most severe cases, tears it.
Runners who suddenly increase the intensity, frequency, or duration of their training are most at risk. And, since your Achilles tendon weakens with age, middle-aged people who participate in high-impact sports like tennis or basketball only on the weekends can be more likely to end up with Achilles tendonitis.
You can tell you have Achilles tendonitis when your pain feels like a mild ache in the back of your leg and/or above your heel, especially after you finish running or playing sports. You may notice your symptoms get worse after prolonged activity.
Fortunately, the majority of cases are simple to treat. In the cases of severe strains or tears, or if your ankle simply isn’t responding to conservative interventions, we may recommend more advanced treatments like PRP.
Does PRP work for Achilles tendonitis?
The short answer? Yes, PRP is an excellent option for most cases of Achilles tendonitis. If you’ve never heard of PRP, here’s a quick breakdown.
PRP injections stimulate the process by which the body heals itself. The platelets in the PRP solution contain growth factors that promote the growth of new tissue and blood vessels, which can repair the tears and effects of strain in your Achilles tendon. PRP injections also have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling and pain in the injured area.
To create PRP, we start by drawing a sample of your blood. Then, we place it in a machine called a centrifuge, which separates the plasma and platelets from the rest of your blood. The result? Once separated, the final solution is a concentrated mix of platelets and growth and healing factors. Then, we inject the solution directly into your Achilles tendon. Once injected, the PRP quickly works, promoting tissue repair and regeneration.
What else can I do?
Because PRP is minimally invasive, involves minimal risk of side effects, and doesn’t require downtime, you’re free to explore other treatment options, such as physical therapy, orthotic devices, and medications.
How do I avoid injuries in the future?
Once you get over your current injury, your first thoughts likely turn toward prevention. Though we can’t guarantee your Achilles tendon will never suffer an injury again, we can equip you with strategies to reduce your risk. Consider the following tendon-friendly tips:
- Increase your activity levels gradually
- Take breaks from high-impact activities
- Always wear supportive, shock-absorbing shoes
- Stretch every day
- Focus on strengthening your calf muscles
Don’t spend another day sidelined by Achilles tendonitis. Call or click to schedule a consultation with one of our experts and see if you’re a candidate for PRP.