Last week we took an in-depth look at some of the logic and the research behind leveraging platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections to treat tennis elbow and encourage the longevity of tendon repair. On our list of common tendon injuries worth visiting when PRP is the topic of discussion, is the Achilles Tendon.
A length of tissue running down the backside of your leg and connecting your heel to calf muscle, the Achilles tendon is one of the mechanisms that enables you to walk. Facilitating the range of motion required to lift your heel from the ground and point your foot to the ground, the Achilles tendon sees a great deal of activity when you’re in motion, and can be seriously debilitative if damaged.
Unfortunately, as far as tendons go, the Achilles’ function leaves it open to stress and strain in more ways than the other tendons at work in your body, and is commonly injured in more than just athletes. In these cases tendinitis, or the painful swelling of your tendon, will occur - typically the result of overuse. Too much trauma to the heel or calf muscle can even cause a rupture. In any of the above cases, diagnosis and treatment should be sought out before the risk of degeneration becomes a reality.
Here’s where things become increasingly challenging: because the Achilles’ tendon fuels your mobility, it’s often subject to stress and activity even when attempting to repair itself. Add to that equation your tendons’ inherent inability to recover quickly due to limited oxygen transfer, and you have an injury that’s difficult to rest and slow to heal on your hands. In severe cases, subjecting your Achilles tendon to stress while it’s attempting to repair itself can permanently affect its structure and result in more discomfort.
Who’s at risk?
Everyone has Achilles tendons subject to strain, but there are use case scenarios that amplify risk. Baseball players, dancers, and marathon runners are prone to these sorts of injuries. But, though the everyman is less likely to suffer from symptoms of tendonitis, the injury itself is far from limited to athletes.
In reality, individuals who spend much of the day on their feet or in heels, and those with flattened arches (pronation) are all at risk of developing tendonitis. Even outside of the scope of these conditions, anyone who makes significant demands on their feet, ankles, or tendons when in motion should take steps to preserve the integrity of their Achilles tendon.
Platelet-rich plasma injections, or the injection of a patient’s own plasma into the Achilles tendon, puts the platelets’ growth factors to work. These naturally regenerative factors supplying a much-needed infusion of oxygen to the area, can be effective in as little as one to two treatments, and sport a low complication rate. PRP injections are a viable treatment for Achilles tendon injuries both as a standalone solution and when used in conjunction with surgery, and to acquire more information you can contact our clinic directly, or visit our PRP page.