Is Tendonitis Your Achilles Heel?

Tennis elbow? Jumper’s knee? Swimmer’s shoulder? Tendon degeneration is an Achilles heel for many. In fact, tendonitis causes more than 70,000 people to miss work each year.*  Returning to pain-free activity can be an office visit away, according to Danielle Wooldrik, DO, CHI Health Sports Medicine Specialist.

“Overuse, strain or injury to the tendons, especially those of the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and ankles, promote scar tissue. This nonfunctional tissue causes pain and limits motion.”

Percutaneous needle tenotomy (PNT), a relatively new procedure, uses a needle, guided by ultrasound, to stimulate the injured tissue to engage the body’s healing process. A simple procedure with a quick recovery, the whole treatment takes about 20-30 minutes in the doctor’s office.

PNT is often accompanied by an autologous blood injection where the patient’s own blood is also injected into the tendon to further stimulate healing.

“Increasing blood flow and breaking up scar tissue triggers the body’s own cells to rebuild the tendon. Combined with physical therapy to stretch the tendon, you’ve effectively restored motion, function and strength.”

PNT works for all ages and activity levels. Patients can choose to repeat the process as needed.

“Those who’ve tried splinting, therapy, anti-inflammatory injections – everything short of surgery – are perfect candidates for needle tenotomy. It’s helping people who thought they just had to live with their chronic tendon pain. It’s rewarding to see my patients getting back to the activities they enjoy.”

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Danielle L. Wooldrik, DO, CAQSM

Sports Medicine