Tendon Injuries

Tendon Injuries

What is a Tendon Injury?

Tendinopathies are wear and tear injuries to tendons that either become chronically painful or recover at a very slow rate. Tendons connect muscles to bone and once injured can often have a hard time healing due to the limited blood flow to the tendon. Injuries are either acute with a single traumatic injury or a more gradual overload condition that stresses the tendon beyond what it can sustain, which then results in breakdown of the tendon fibers. Common tendon problems include tennis elbow, achilles tendonitis, golfer’s elbow, jumper’s knee, hip bursitis, rotator cuff injury, tendonitis, hamstring tear, and biceps tendonitis

Standard Treatments

Standard treatment of tendon injuries include rest, ice/heat, medications, and physical therapy focused on strengthening the affected muscle and tendon. When tendons fail to heal over a period of a few months the treatment often becomes more aggressive. Standard of care over the years has included steroid injection directly into the tendon. Even with many studies demonstrating the negative long term effect of corticosteroids on tendons this is still the most common treatment for tendinopathies. Last result often includes surgery where the surgeon will try to clean up the tendon and sometimes reattach fibers that have been detached.

Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative medicine offers an alternative option for tendinopathies. PRP has been studied for many years in the setting of tendinopathies. The thought is that the growth factors from the platelets that are injected into the tendon help augment the healing process. Additionally, the irritation from the needle during the procedure is thought to help stimulate the healing process.

Studies have shown that PRP can help stimulate the tendon cell to produce more collagen. The science supporting regenerative medicine continues to grow as we learn more about the body and the healing process. Bone marrow aspirate concentrate which contains mesenchymal stem cells have also been studied and used for the treatment of tendinopathies.