I am now two months out from my PRP injection, and I thought I’d weigh in on what is considered to be an early stage in the healing process. PRP is supposed to achieve results in anywhere from four to six months. It’s a long healing process, but so is tendonitis in general.
Now, while some may accuse me of being impatient with the healing process (which is certainly true, I’ll admit, who wouldn’t be?), I have to also say that I think this treatment is turning out to be ineffective for me.
At the moment, the pain in my tendon is significantly worse than it was before the injection. I can’t stand (like while covering a baseball game, etc.) for more than about 30 minutes before it starts to hurt, and often the pain wakes me up in the middle of the night. I didn’t have either of these problems (not even remotely) before the injection. And worst of all, I have seen very little improvement in my symptoms over the past five weeks. My injury is, quite honestly, stagnating as far as I can tell.
Andy did a follow-up ultrasound a short while ago and found that new tendon tissue is indeed forming and doing what it’s supposed to be doing, but perhaps not as quickly as he would like. He even took my pictures along on a vacation with other tendon specialists and asked their opinion (which was very nice of him, I must say); they concurred that a second injection was advised. It’s not at all uncommon for PRP patients to need a second injection.
However, I did not find that very reassuring. If I’d been experiencing any progress this past month or so, I might go for it. But the plain truth is that I am in far more pain now, two months later, than I ever was before the injection. In fact, I’m regretting the first injection….it doesn’t appear to be treating me well. Therefore, a second one has very little appeal at this point.
Now, I know you’re all screaming in your heads: get a second opinion, dumbass! So I did. Doctor #2 examined my knee and was bothered by the amount of pain and inflammation still going on in there (and she’s familiar with PRP), so she gave me a prescription-grade anti-inflammatory. She also agreed that a second injection seems like a bad idea, since I show little sign of recovering from the first one. Instead she asked me to get an MRI.
And while I’m very willing to do anything I can to get out of pain, I’m a bit stuck on the cost of the MRI. It’s something I’m still grappling with. (I did see the widely circulated story that came out recently on MRI shopping. Pretty interesting.)
At any rate, I want to say that quite a bit of study has been done on the effectiveness of PRP for patallar tendonitis, and for most people, the results are positive. I think I’m just one of the unlucky ones who is not seeing relief from it. While I understand that it’s still early in a long-term process, I feel like I should at least be seeing some small measure of improvement as time goes on, rather than this Groundhog Day-effect where I’m in the same level of pain for weeks on end.
I don’t want this post to seem like a condemnation of PRP or of Andy’s treatment; he’s gone above and beyond the call of duty in many ways to help me out, and I am deeply appreciative. Everybody reacts differently to things, and those reactions cannot be predicted. That’s why medicine is not a perfect science.
At any rate, I am hopeful that the anti-inflammatory can break what is known as the inflammation cycle, and kick-start some healing for me, because as you can easily tell, I am deeply frustrated by this prolonged down time from the sport I love so much.
So, in the end, it’s not wrong to try new things to improve your health. You just have to face the consequences if those things aren’t helpful. The take-home message for anyone who’s actually read this far should be: take care of your body, you never know when it’s going to crap out on you.
Stretch daily, even if you hate it and it’s boring. Use the foam roller with frequency, even if you hate it and it’s boring. Because you don’t want to experience how much you’ll hate being injured and how bored you’ll be while it’s healing. I can promise you that.
Now, stay tuned for a much more entertaining post in the next few days: I have a reader in Arizona who has kindly provided me with GPS files for a number of kick-ass trails in his neck of the woods. I know our timing is way off, since warm weather is already upon us here and we don’t need to road trip to the “But it’s a dry heat!” state. But I’m stoked about this because I’ve been dying for riders outside of Colorado to send me this kind of information. Sweet! It will be here waiting for you next winter, when you’re dying to escape the snow with a rad road trip to sunny climes.
As always, thanks for reading.