About two years ago, I had a PRP injection in my left Achilles tendon to jump start the recovery process.  In the intervening two years I also learned I have a leg length discrepancy, which I now wear heel lifts for, and I’ve done a lot of physical therapy to improve my biomechanics. My balance is better. My form is better. And my Achilles still hurts.

Understanding What “Easy” Means

I always have that regret in the back of my head that if I hadn’t skied up to Artist Point when I was about 2.5 months out from PRP maybe this would have worked better. I think Covid played a large role. Since I couldn’t hang out with people indoors, we did outdoor activities, which were sometimes more strenuous for where I was in recovery. It’s hard to adjust from a mindset where 2,000 feet of elevation gain is “easy” to understand that 2,000 feet of elevation gain in 2 miles can actually put a lot of stress on a recovering tendon. But if you are reading this and are considering PRP or recently had it, be very careful with your recovery.

I don’t know why it hurts, but at least I can think of ways to make it feel better.

I have also gotten a much better understanding of what “gradual” means. Extending the amount of minutes I run at a time by one every few runs really drives that point home. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment when I could finally run for 30 minutes at a time, but after a month or so of doing that a few times a week my Achilles would really hurt.  I have quit running (for now at least) because short run/walks on flat ground aren’t great training for mountaineering and I can’t do more than that.

Still Climbing On

I’ve come to accept that I have a chronic injury. I’m going to keep climbing mountains, but I won’t be running up hills anymore. The pain gets better, then it gets worse, and sometimes hiking makes it feel better and sometimes hiking makes it feel worse.

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I’m currently training for Margherita Peak in Uganda, but with an Ebola outbreak in Uganda we may end up climbing the Mexican volcanoes instead. This means I’ll need to train with more weight than I was planning on, but I’m glad we have that flexibility.

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