Triathlete Achilles Tendinitis: “Just Wait for It to Tear so We Can Operate”?

By Chris Centeno, MD /

Receive a Regenexx® Patient Info Packet by email and learn why it's a superior regenerative solution.

triathlete achilles tendinitis

As an active person, Achilles tendon problems can cause you to miss out on what you love. This is the story of a seven-time Ironman triathlete with an Achilles tendon that was so bad, his surgeon told him to just let it tear so that it could be surgically repaired. However, in the end, this case of triathlete Achilles tendinitis was repaired without any surgery, just by using precise injections of his own ultra-high-dose platelet-rich plasma.

What Is the Achilles Tendon?

The Achilles tendon gets its name from the god Achilles, who was shot with an arrow in the back of his heel. While he was an immortal, his only weakness was this tendon as when his mother dipped him in the River Styx at birth, she held him by the back of the heel. While this all apparently happened during the Trojan War, many triathletes, runners, and pick-up basketball players will tell you that while they’re not immortal, they can feel this tendon getting in the way.

This tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel, and it’s notorious for failing and tearing in middle-aged athletes. When that happens, surgery is often recommended. However, is there another way?

Randall’s Story: Triathlete Achilles Tendinitis

Randall is a high-level triathlete who just completed his seventh Ironman. He first came to see me in 2005 with a bad back, a bum knee, and a messed up ankle and Achilles. All of this was connected. The irritated nerves in his back were messing with his ability to accurately control his knee and making his calf and other ankle muscles tight, which caused his Achilles to get ripped up. Please see my video below for more information on how the calf is connected to low back problems.

We treated his back with platelet-based therapies that targeted his irritated nerves, joints, and ligaments. His back was soon 80% better, so we then began to focus on the lax ligaments in his knee with precise injections under guidance. Finally, we focused on the back of his heel, initially with lower-dose platelet-rich plasma. Despite these injections being what most clinics would consider high dose at seven times more concentrated than baseline, he only got partial relief. So what could we do better for this severe case of triathlete Achilles tendinitis?

At that point, his Achilles was hypertrophied and had a “moth-eaten” appearance. Basically, when tendons get weak, the body throws more tendon at the problem. However, the density of the tendon tissue goes down and the tendon gets hypertrophed (bigger). In fact, his weak tendon was about twice as big as his normal tendon and so bad that his surgeon told him to just wait until it ruptured and he would then fix it surgically.

Is there another way? What’s injected is important. What if we injected even more-concentrated platelet-rich plasma (PRP)? Most physicians use a mix that has 2–5 times more concentrated platelets than blood. We had already treated his Achilles by precisely injecting PRP that was 7 times more concentrated using ultrasound, but could we go higher? Unlike physicians who have little bedside machines and are limited to the type of PRP that this machine can produce, we have a lab that can make whatever we need. Hence, we upped the concentration to 20 times more than baseline and tried again. This time the patient also decided to go into a walking boot for six weeks. See my video below about how Regenexx PRP is very different.

How did he do? I just saw Randall back yesterday, and he reported being 100% better and just completing his seventh Ironman in Canada! He can run, bike, and swim without any issues. In addition, a major change was that the tendon looked normal under ultrasound, so he’s cured.

The upshot? Even our regular high-dose PRP didn’t work well for this really bad Achilles tendon. However, what ultimately healed the tendon without surgery was ultra-high-dose PRP. Only Regenexx can make PRP at 20 times over baseline, and for this triathlete, that’s exactly what he needed!

Category: Latest News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 thoughts on “Triathlete Achilles Tendinitis: “Just Wait for It to Tear so We Can Operate”?

  1. Brett

    What about Greyledge? I think the system Dr. Karli has might be able to do similar dosage amounts

    1. Regenexx Team

      Brett,
      Unlikely.

  2. terrence o'neill

    Thanks for the report; reassuring, for one who is seeking stemcell and platelet procedures for meniscus and arthritis treatment from Centeno-Schutz Clinic., esp. form Dr. Centeno.
    Terrence O’Neill

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.