There are many treatments for Achilles tendonitis/tendonosis [-isis = inflammation of; -osis = condition of]. The best advice to everyone is not to have Achilles tendonitis issues in the first place and then secondly if you do have it – take care of it early and don’t let it become chronic. For those of us unlucky enough to have it chronically, there haven’t been many treatment breakthroughs – until the past few years. ASTYM and PRP are two more recent treatments – neither of which had I personally tried until this summer.
To get up to speed on causes, treatments and discussions on Achilles tendonitis here are past posts:
Achilles Tendon Central
Achilles Tendon Treatments
Achilles Tendonitis – Recovery & Workouts
Achilles Tendon – Comeback Case Study
How do you get fast if you have Achilles tendonitis?
Diagnose and Treat Achilles Tendons
More On Achilles Tendons II
Achilles Tendon – Comeback Case Study – 6 Month Follow-Up
I fought tendonitis off and on over the past two years to the point that now I not only could not run but limped often after long days of just standing on my feet or did any number of daily activities. I do believe in going conservative in treatments and doing the most invasive as a last resort. This past spring I had ASTYM treatments performed.
ASTYM treatments can be provided only by a therapist certified in ASTYM. They use hard plastic devices to “strip” the muscle and/or tendon that is effected. Substantial pressure is delivered. It has worked well for many runners I know for tendonitis related issues. I have spoken to many runners about the treatments and results have been overwhelmingly positive.
The treatments I had were not as uncomfortable as had been reported to me. Nor did I bruise as others have. Renata at Spooner Physical Therapy was my therapist for the treatments. Some really great points about ASTYM is that it is non-invasive (though it can feel like it is quite invasive), and that part of the process is to have the athlete continue doing their sport! That in itself is unusual as most often rest is a key component to treating tendonitis as well as so many other running related injuries.
After warming up on an stationary cycle, the treatments themselves were brief (15 minutes or so) and were followed by exercises and many typical physical therapy maneuvers. Renata related to me that the discomfort is highly individual. The bruising – she found more pronounced in her women patients. I did not bruise at all though the area was sensitive after treatments.
My results were mixed. It alleviated most of my symptoms except one pesky area that was hard to reach because it was on the side of the tendon facing my tibia (hard to explain) – it couldn’t be reached from the outside. The pain was reduced and I was able to run this summer to some degree but just couldn’t completely rid myself of it and anything above an easy jog or standing for long periods just brought it all back.
At the beginning of the summer, I visited Dr. Armendariz at TOCA group in Phoenix. We agreed to take 3 months and see if I could “run my way out of the tendonitis” before finally deciding on the next step – surgery. He felt that it was possible that (and has seen it before) that it could resolve with increased blood flow and range of motion work. After an up and down summer of trying to run, we mutually agreed that surgery was in order.
I couldn’t outrun the achilles tendonitis.