Two different procedures for Achilles Heel Tendonitis

by John
(Lafayette, CA, USA)

I am an active 45 year old male with a bad history of achilles heel tendonitis.

My first bout was on my right achilles heel right before turning 40. At the time, I was training for the Chicago marathon and stupidly ignored increasing achilles heel pain for quite a few months.

Eventually, I got to the point where the pain was to much to run anymore and was so bad at night that I was having trouble sleeping.

I tried a couple of months of PT (specifically ART treatment) which helped somewhat but the damage I had done was so great that ART alone wouldn't do the trick.

After almost a year of dealing with pain I finally turned to a family orthopedic surgeon friend for advice (year was 2008) and he told me about a new procedure called "Topaz Treatment" which could help me out. I was willing to try anything, so I signed up for the procedure.

The treatment consisted of being put under, having small incisions made up and down the tendon and then having the weak scar tissue which had built up cleaned up. A Topaz wand device is then used to stimulate repair and recovery of the tendon.

Recovery consisted of having my foot elevated for the first week, then on to a walker boot for I believe about 4 weeks or so. At the 7-8 week mark, I went back to my PT for ART and I'd say by about the 12 week mark my pain and swelling was pretty much gone. It has been five years since the procedure and I have had no issues with my right achilles heel. That was the good news.

The bad news was that shortly after turning 45 my left achilles heel started to have the same issues -ughhhh!!! To get ahead of the curve this time, I started ART with my PT much sooner in the process.

Again, it offered some relief but did not seem to solve the problem. More sleepless nights with pain ensued, and new I needed to do something else yet again. While I was tempted to go right back to the Topaz technique as it worked so well, I wanted to see if there were any other procedures available which might offer a quicker recovery time. My PT who saw me for both achilles heel issues recommended I try PRP , a technique were they use the platelets in your own blood to help heel the tendon.

She had been getting great response from patients who had tried the procedure with similar issues so I thought I'd give it a try.

Four days ago I had the procedure, which consisted of having a little bit of blood drawn, waiting 15 minutes to have the blood put into a centrifuge machine that separates the powerful platelets and then had those platelets injected (with aid of ultrasound) into the parts of my tendon which needed heeling. The only uncomfortable part of the procedure was the numbing shots into the tendon.

In 45 minutes I was done with the procedure and sent on my way. The first night I felt quite a bit of pain (vichodin was needed) and a lot of strange sensations all up and down my left leg as if blood was flowing and bubbling through my veins. At some point I managed to get to
sleep and when woke in the morning felt remarkably better. The next couple of days I spent on crutches to keep pressure off my left achilles, but felt remarkably pain free and flexible in the area in a short period of time. Pain seemed to come back at night for 2nd and 3rd night but by 4th night slept pain free and have been doing mild walking without putting much pressure on left foot sans crutches. For anything longer, still using crutches and was told to try and stay on them for one week, but finding it hard to stick to this as feel really good.

I am hoping all continues on a strong track, and plan on moving to swimming for exercise in week 2, back to ART by beginning of week 3 and if all feeling good will try road biking again by week three. Will post back when have completed this cycle on final outcome


Joshua Answers:

Hi John.

You didn't leave an email address nor check the notification box, so I hope you find this response.

Thanks for taking the time to describe your experience.

The best lesson in it is to take care of things SOONER than later. If it starts out bad, it's not going to get better with more exercise.

But, that seems to be how humans do it, c'est la vie.

Tendonitis is a predictable beast.

See: What Is Tendonitis

Having said that, there are a lot of different factors. For some people, ART would have taken care of it. For some people, they need more attention to nutrition (you're in that category). For some people, it's the tendon itself, for some the tendon is fine even though it SEEMS like the tendon hurts.

Achilles Tendonitis is no different. There are major forces at play when you're running down the road, lots of force.

That's great that the Topaz surgery helped. Stimulate the tendon to get more circulation and healing attention from the system. Not everybody gets benefit, for the reasons listed above.

Same with PRP. If it's actually a tendon issue, new blood can help healing.

But, keep in mind, tendon issues are SYMPTOMS. Tendons don't just go bad. There's other factors involved.

Hopefully with the regular ART you can get things working properly again. Muscles that are too tight don't fire optimally, thus don't absorb force like they're supposed to. That force still has to go somewhere....i.e. tendons.

I'd be curious to see what happens when you get back to running, keep us updated.

And if you REALLY want to get back on the road and run some marathons, check out The ARPwave System.

More questions, more answers.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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