Did you know that tendonitis and plantar fasciitis can get worse and more painful over time? If left untreated and chronic symptoms persist for years, for some patients it may lead to open surgery as the last but only option. The good news is it can be treated early with conservative or minimally invasive options before leading you down a less desirable open surgery path.
Understanding tendon injuries and your conservative treatment options
Tendon injuries are most often referred to as Tendinosis or Tendonitis, and is commonly called:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendonitis
- Jumper’s / Runner’s knee
- Tennis /Golfer’s elbow
- Swimmer’s Shoulder
The pain will be easily identifiable with one finger – called point tender. The point tender pain you feel can mean your tendon has tissue damage. When your tendon is overused and becomes damaged, it is unable to work at full capacity, causing you pain.
Chronic Tendon Pain comes from doing the things you love or need to do – over and over again. Repetitive motions, no matter how ordinary, can cause small micro tears that occur each time you use your tendon. When you do the same activities persistently, the micro tears do not have time to heal properly, causing injury. In about the first 3 months, the tendon is inflamed and conservative treatments such as ice, rest or stretching can address the issue. Some physicians will administer a cortisone injection, which may help reduce inflammation, however degeneration of the tissue can occur over time with repeated use.
The timeline between inflamed vs. damaged tendons in a Mayo Clinic study
Not all patients get better on their own, and if not treated, the damaged tendon tissue may never heal and your pain will likely become worse, making you suffer for months or years. In a Mayo Clinic study*:
In the first 3-6 Months: the tendon is inflamed – 6 months after conservative treatment, 80% of patients responded favorably. 15% had a reoccurrence of symptoms within 12 months of symptom onset.
After 3-6 Months: the tendon becomes damaged – 20% of patients did not receive symptom relief without some surgical intervention. This is due to the tissue becoming damaged and degenerated, rather than inflamed.
What are treatment options AFTER the tendon becomes damaged?
After the tendon enters the damaged stage, the treatment options are:
Approach 1: Treatments that try to increase blood flow or strengthen surrounding muscles. This avenue can include physical therapy, Platelet Rich Plasma, Shockwave therapy or TOPAZ.
Approach II: Removing pain generating damaged tissue. Currently, the only two options to extract damaged or degenerated soft tissue is a minimally invasive method using Tenex Health TX™ technology or open surgery. The other, non-surgical treatments mask the source of pain whereas Tenex Health or open surgery definitively removes it. Tenex Health is the latest advancement in methods that allows intervention, rapid recovery and pain relief at an earlier stage without damaging surrounding healthy tissue.
Which treatment is right for you?
Which treatment is right for you can depend on how long you’ve experienced symptoms. A medical examination and understanding of your history is recommended to determine an individual plan of care that is right for you and your goals. Dr Radnay treats plantar fasciitis in the foot and ankle and knee tendonitis.
*Mayo Clinic Study Reference: TL Sanders et al (Mayo Clinic). The Epidemiology and Health Care Burden of Tennis Elbow: A Population-Based Study. American Journal of Sports Medicine Vol 43, No. 5;1066-1071