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As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at www.outsideonline.com/sweatscience. Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.
- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)
Today’s Globe has my article on new approaches to treating and preventing Achilles tendinopathy, including platelet-rich plasma therapy, a.k.a. blood spinning. Since I’m in Delhi, I had a chance to speak to the experts here with the Canadian team, and to Megan Wright (2008 Olympic 5,000-metre finalist who missed most of 2009 with Achilles tendon problems):
… In some cases, though, tendinopathy doesn’t respond to conservative treatment. In the months before and after the Olympics, Ms. Wright tried icing, acupuncture, sleeping in a “night splint” and “kinesio taping” – applying special tape along the length of the calf to relieve strain on the tendon. She even tried intramuscular stimulation, sometimes called “deep needling,” in her calves – a procedure that, as the name suggests, involves sticking needles deep into the calf muscle.
Finally, she turned to platelet-rich plasma. Since tendons have a very poor blood supply (unlike muscles), minor tears and inflammation tend to heal slowly. PRP therapy involves drawing a small amount of the patient’s own blood, spinning it in a centrifuge to concentrate the most useful components (the platelets) and reinjecting this concentrated plasma at the injury site. The platelets then release various “growth factors” that stimulate the body’s natural healing response… [READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE]
Wright races tomorrow night against a tough field, including the inevitable trio of Kenyans. I’ll be live-tweeting the race, which is scheduled to start at 11:20 a.m. Eastern time, at @sweatscience.