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  • Writer's picturePasadena Orthopedics, Inc.

PRP for Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is a common condition that occurs when the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, becomes inflamed. This can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the back of the ankle, making it difficult to walk or engage in physical activity. While traditional treatments such as rest, ice, and physical therapy can be effective, some patients may require more advanced treatments, such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy to completely eradicate a patients pain.

PRP therapy is a form of regenerative medicine that uses a patient's own blood to promote healing. The process involves drawing a small amount of blood from the patient, which is then processed to concentrate the platelets and growth factors. The concentrated PRP is then injected into the affected area, such as the Achilles tendon, to stimulate healing.

In the case of Achilles tendonitis, PRP injections can help promote healing and reduce inflammation. The growth factors in the PRP stimulate the regeneration of damaged tissue and can also help to increase blood flow to the area, which can aid in the healing process.

PRP therapy for Achilles tendonitis is typically performed on an outpatient basis, using ultrasound guidance to ensure precise placement of the injections. The procedure itself is relatively simple and takes only a few minutes to complete. Patients may experience some mild discomfort at the injection site, but this typically subsides within a few days.

Following the injection, patients may be advised to limit physical activity for a short period to allow the healing process to take place. Full recovery may take several weeks to months, depending on the severity of the injury and the individual's healing response. In some cases, multiple injections may be necessary to achieve optimal results.

PRP therapy is considered a safe and effective treatment option for Achilles tendonitis, with minimal risk of adverse effects or complications. Patients should discuss the potential risks and benefits of PRP therapy with their healthcare provider before undergoing treatment. You may wonder why not get a cortisone injection for this pain, which is a treatment covered by insurance.

Corticosteroid injections are a commonly used treatment for foot and ankle conditions, such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and ankle sprains. These injections work by reducing inflammation and pain in the affected area. While corticosteroid injections can be an effective treatment option, there are potential downsides to consider.

One of the main downsides of corticosteroid injections is the risk of side effects. Corticosteroids are powerful drugs that can affect multiple systems in the body, including the immune system, metabolism, and bone health. Some of the common side effects of corticosteroid injections include:

  • Pain and swelling at the injection site

  • Temporary increase in blood sugar levels

  • Mood changes, such as irritability or anxiety

  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping

  • Increased risk of infection

  • Weakening of the tendons and ligaments in the injected area

  • Osteoporosis or bone thinning with long-term use

Another potential downside of corticosteroid injections is that they may not address the underlying cause of the condition. While corticosteroids can provide temporary relief of symptoms, they do not promote healing or address the root cause of the problem (unlike PRP). This means that the symptoms may return once the effects of the injection wear off, and the underlying condition may continue to worsen over time.

Additionally, repeated use of corticosteroid injections can lead to diminished effectiveness and may increase the risk of side effects. This is because the body can become desensitized to the effects of the corticosteroids over time, requiring higher doses or more frequent injections to achieve the same level of pain relief.

In conclusion, while corticosteroid injections can be a useful treatment option for foot and ankle conditions, there are potential downsides to consider. Patients should discuss the risks and benefits of corticosteroid injections with their healthcare provider, and explore alternative treatment options if appropriate. In some cases, regenerative treatments such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy may be a safer and more effective treatment option for foot and ankle conditions. Also, of note, cortisone injections can not be administered near or in a tendon such as the achilles.

This is where PRP comes to play. PRP therapy can be a valuable treatment option for patients with Achilles tendonitis. By promoting the body's natural healing response, PRP injections can accelerate recovery time, reduce pain and inflammation, and improve overall function and mobility. If you are suffering from Achilles tendonitis or another foot or ankle injury, talk to your healthcare provider about whether PRP therapy may be right for you.

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