A few weeks back I decided to have TENEX done on my Achilles tendon. I had strained my left calf in a workout several months back and just kept pushing it. My calf began to really hurt and again I just kept pushing it. A few months later I finally decided it might be time to go get this checked out after it hadn’t gone away. Some dry needling was recommended to me by my coach so I jumped right in and got it done.
Holy WOW that was painful…I might have had some moisture build up in my eye balls. Non the less the calf started to feel better and better and the pain of the treatments were lessoning…kinda like foam rolling for the first time. After a month or so all pain my leg was gone except for one little micro spot about the size of a BB. My tendon could be squeezed, poked and prodded completely pain free everywhere but a BB sized spot on the back. If you touched that spot I would jump off of the table. Visible swelling was also there.
My Doctor recommended I check out a newer procedure called TENEX. I had what I thought was tendinitis on my Achillies but after 3 weeks of ice, stim, Motrin, and biking, it still would not go away. So I decided to go this route. The other alternatives were PT, Nitro Patches, Blood Spinning, all good things but work much better on Tendinitis, turns out I have tendinosis. Which means the tendon is jacked up but NOT inflamed which is why non of the usual tricks were working.
This is supposed to be a quick minimal procedure to go in break up and suck out that bad tissue without messing with the good tissue. Sounds like hokus-pokus until the Dr. told me where the tech came from. It’s basically Cataracts surgery on your tendon, blast the eyeball with some sonic waves slap on an eye patch for a week or two and KaBOOM you can see. Praise Kim Jong!
The procedure was actually pretty quick and easy. They started with numbing the area. They did this with three shots. The first one was fine but the second one they shot right into the pain spot on the tendon…that you could say was unpleasant. Luckily while I was waiting for the scalpel I was too numb to even notice it. The thing he tells me is that he is inserting the probe. He quickly got to work using the probe and ultra sound as his guide. In about two minutes it was all over. I think I was sweating through my shirt due to nerves but there really wasn’t much to be worried about once it was all done.
I should be looking at a week no weight, then a boot at week two and starting band exercises. No impact cross training can start around 3 weeks provided you do NOT push through the pain. Should be able to put my running shoes on by week 5 or 6. Spikes by week 8. I’ll keep ya’ll posted.
3/23/2015 (3 Days Post)
Update. The first 36 hours I took a total of three Norcos for pain/sleep. By 48 hours the swelling in my foot was almost gone. By 72 hours there really isn’t anymore pain…especially when I drop it off the bed in the morning. Jamie also removed my splint and started gently working a little motion into my ankle. Also if you zoom in real close you can see the tiny little hole where the probe went in. I am still 0% percent weight for at least the first week. I have a walking boot but I’m not supposed to walk in it for at least 7-11 days. Then it’s cross training.
3/31/2015 (11 Days Post)
Quick update. I have been putting nitro patches on the area to increase the blood flow to the site area. The Dr. follow up went really well. The Ultra Sound showed progress, the Dr. was able to press on the site area with minimal discomfort. Before if you just looked at it I would yell, now you can apply several pounds of pressure to the are with little pain. I have been full walking boot for two days and am getting around pain free.
4/3/2015 (14 Days Post)
Walked around the bedroom a little at the end of the day with no boot and the foot feels great! I’m still going to keep wearing the boot more so to keep me in check. I did do some very very slow and light calf raises just to test the area and again 100% pain free. The area still has a bit of swelling or a lump but the pain is gone. At the end of next week I’ll be boot free and starting cross training.
4/26/2015 (37 Days Post)
First run back 6.5 Miles 7:35 pace. Pain was there but lessoned. At this point I feel that I could be doing full training on a Alter-G at about 80-85% body weight and would have been pain free.
5/11/2015 (52-59 Days Post)
Ended up with 30 miles in this week there was a very big scare at about week 4-6 that the pain was holding steady but now I feel like it’s starting to move in the right direction. Yes it still hurts around the pain site but the exact spot where they worked on is now 100% pain free. It was hard to realize how bad the area was as the epicenter was so painful. The best way I have been able to describe this is if you took a quarter and tacoed it over your Achilles tendon, that is where all of the pain is. Now if you overlayed a dime that is what is fixed and pain free now. I THOUGHT I knew exactly where the bad spot was, and I kinda did, and we could see it on the ultrasound. Looking back or if I ever had to do it again, I will make sure he works the whole general area just to be sure.
For runners with chronic tendon pain I almost feel like this could be an every 3-5 year maintenance phase of training. Run That fall marathon then have this procedure done in November and ride the bike for two months then hit the roads in January. As I said before the machine ran a total of 49 seconds while in my leg, I think we could have easily doubled that amount of time and really scrubbed the tendon. I also think it would have speed up the recovery time. I hope someone finds this blog helpful in making a decision on this procedure. If I had to do it again, I would in a heartbeat. To be able to take a tendon too painful to touch, down to pain free in a few weeks is really amazing.