Tearing a tendon is a major disruption to your daily life. A torn tendon can take about 6 weeks to heal on its own, and your body cannot ever get 100%. But, depending on how you treat it, it can take even longer. And if you (or your body’s healing program) never heal it completely, it can become a cause of chronic pain for years to come. Typical torn tendon treatments can include rest, ice, NSAIDs, or even surgical intervention. But these methods carry unnecessary risks, and they aren’t always reliable or effective. At Blatman Health and Wellness Center, we take a more holistic approach to tissue injuries like torn tendons. We focus on regenerative medicine and more natural interventions for these types of injuries, like stem cell therapy for knee injuries or PRP therapy for soft tissue damage.
Torn Tendons and Tendonitis: Signs and Symptoms
Most tendon tears occur at major joints like the knees, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. This is because these joints are the most prone to overuse or direct trauma. When a tendon ruptures, different symptoms may occur. You may hear or feel a snapping sound, or you might lose the ability to move that part of your body. You may experience severe pain or immediate bruising. In some cases you can actually see a physical deformation of the affected body part. The body can have a hard time repairing a tear to completion, which can result in chronic pain and diminished function of the affected body part. These cases are usually referred to as partial tears.
Tendonitis is a similar set of conditions. You’ve probably heard common names for types of tendonitis like tennis elbow or De Quervain’s Syndrome. Tendonitis is usually caused by overuse of a major joint area; it’s basically when a number microscopic tears cause the tendon to become inflamed. The tendon may even come away from the bone in places if the damage is bad enough. Tendonitis often becomes a chronic issue because there aren’t a lot of ways to completely avoid basic movements like walking, typing or holding a glass of water.
Our main concern with any tendon injury is proper treatment so it doesn’t become a chronic pain issue. Sometimes our body’s healing program simply doesn’t have the resources it needs to complete a tendon repair, even if you do all the right things. And sometimes our lifestyles don’t allow us the time to wait months to become active again. This is where regenerative medicine can step in; it gives your body the boost it needs to complete the healing process by using materials from your own body.
PRP Therapy as a Safe and Effective Remedy for Torn Tendons
Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy, or PRP treatments, use your own platelets to boost or restart your body’s healing process, which makes it a great treatment option for both new and old musculoskeletal injuries. What a PRP doctor does is draw blood from the patient and then process the blood to separate the platelets. This creates a concentration of platelets that is much higher than the body’s normal baseline. The doctor then injects this concentration directly into the injury site. By concentrating platelets, which naturally contain growth factors, PRP treatment encourages and aids your body’s healing processes for soft tissues like tendons, muscles and ligaments.
Here’s why PRP therapy is a better choice for torn tendon treatment than traditional Western remedies:
- PRP is created from the patient’s own blood, so there are no risks of allergic reactions or adverse effects from the injection.
- PRP therapy can be safely combined with habit or health changes like weight loss or physical therapy without the side effects of mainstream pharmaceutical treatments.
- NSAIDs (think Aspirin or Ibuprofen) carry systemic risks like gastrointestinal, joint cartilage, kidney, blood pressure and heart issues. If used too much or too chronically, they can do more harm than good.
- Cortisone shots are another common treatment for joint injuries; steroids like cortisone push your body into healing overdrive and may be a quick fix for pain. But a big issue with cortisone, and all steroids, is that tendons and tissues treated with steroids actually become weaker, making re-injury a real risk.
Another important treatment option to discuss is surgical intervention. There isn’t always a way to avoid surgically repairing a torn tendon, but if you can avoid it, you should. Surgeries of all kinds carry health risks and cannot guarantee permanent relief from pain or damage. If you think about it, surgery causes the body more trauma in order to repair damage from the initial trauma: the torn tendon. This is why finding a regenerative medicine doctor who practices in torn tendon treatments like PRP therapy is important when choosing a treatment path for any musculoskeletal injury. While no treatment can 100% guarantee complete repair or pain relief, natural remedies that use resources from your own body are safer and less invasive. Further, they pose little to no health risks, which is not something you can say about traditional pharmaceutical or surgical treatments.
When it comes to surgery and surgical repair of a tendon, there is open surgery, minimally invasive surgery, and needle surgery. Dr. Blatman is an expert with needle surgery for fascia and tendon repair.