My father is a vigorous and active man in his early 70s. A lifetime of strength training and significant endurance exercise has enabled him to stay active and healthy. Beginning in his late 60s he began training and then participating in marathons. Given his style of going hard and intensely at anything he picks up, he has run 6 marathons per year the last few years. Over the course of his athletic career at this advanced age naturally a few minor injuries have accumulated. At times he has managed by temporarily altering his workout schedule. At other times he has required a modern regenerative orthopedics approach to his musculoskeletal care.
As an example, recently he developed a moderate degree of right ankle tendinitis specifically affecting his posterior tibialis tendon. This injury was significant enough that it limited his training for his next marathon. We decided to treat his injured tendon with platelet rich plasma to ensure recovery of an injury that could undermine the rest of his racing season. Six weeks after his PRP treatment he had recovered appropriately 80% back to his normal training level. He requires additional treatment for the tendon, but with a race coming in 2 weeks, another PRP treatment into the tendon would not be appropriate. Instead I treated his posterior tibial nerve at the ankle with neuroprolotherapy. This treatment involves injecting a low concentration of glucose around an irritated nerve clearing any scar tissue or blocked areas that are causing nerve dysfunction. The nerve that was treated is the one that supplies sensation and control of his injured tendon. By treating the nerve component of his tendon injury, we were able to reduce his pain to allow him to continue to train. He was then able to complete his most recent marathon. Going forward in the next few weeks we will repeat PRP treatment of his tendon to continue the healing process for this injury.
In my father’s care in all occurrences we focused on some guiding principles of regenerative orthopedics.
- Use low risk injectable treatments that are meant to help protect and preserve your own tissue, rather than invasive surgery, steroid injections, and pain medications.
- Always utilize precise imaging guidance during treatment to ensure your patient has the absolute best chance of recovery.
- Treat all relevant pain generating structures as required including cartilage, joint inflammation, supportive ligaments and tendons, and neurogenic factors involved with your pain.
Staying fit and active is important for any type A aging athlete. Go for the best regenerative orthopedic treatments for your musculoskeletal injuries, and keep running, pushing, and living to the max.