As I’ve mentioned before, I was wrestling with achilles tendonitis at the time of my marathon run at the beginning of December. I actually got the tendonitis during my final long training run, the Battle of Leon Creek Run, and spent the three weeks between that run and the marathon trying to heal. Besides rest and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, I used three other, non-traditional modalities to help me heal. I’m convinced they helped, and I’d like to share my experiences.
Note: In my “About” section, you may have noted that I am a physician. What follows is simply an exploration of my experiences. I will provide some references and information on how you can make an informed decision whether these modalities are best for you. However, this is not “free” medical advice and any rehabilitation from injury should be undertaken with advice from your physician.
The morning after the Battle of Leon Creek run, my achilles tendons were on fire. Walking down stairs was uniquely uncomfortable. Walking was tough. I knew I was in trouble. I’d been training for 10 weeks for my marathon and I faced the real possibility that my legs wouldn’t carry me through. It wasn’t like I knew I had been running hurt. I had never had any pain in my achilles other than some mild twinge after long runs. But for whatever reason, the 22 miles I put in that day really pushed my legs, particularly the right one, over the edge.
My first stop was with my local Airrosti provider, Dr. Jason DeRoche. I’ve had experiences with Airrosti before. I was referred there a few years ago by my primary care physician after wrestling with a chronic hip flexor issue. Jason and his team made a huge difference in my hip flexor in a week, so I figured I’d give them a chance with my Achilles.
The treatment theory behind Airrosti is that when we injure ourselves, the soft tissue — tendons, connective tissue, ligaments and muscles, get out of whack. The Airrosti providers, all specially trained chiropractors, perform myofascial release / deep tissue massage to realign the “out of whack” tissues. My Airrosti provider told me that there is some debate ongoing about the actual mechanism — realignment of tissue, neuroendocrine effects, or something else. Regardless of how it actually works, the company claims impressive success. Interestingly, my health insurance company started covering Airrosti after some internal studies showed shorter length of treatment and faster return to activity than traditional rest and physical therapy. Dr. DeRoche explained to me that 2 separate studies by data analytics companies (review of hundreds of thousands of patient claims data) spanning several years have shown Airrosti to be the most effective and efficient treatment model for most musculoskeletal injuries.
The treatments with the Airrosti Provider last about thirty minutes. Let there be no doubt, they really do manipulate and push on those injured areas and it can be quite uncomfortable. However, I found Dr. DeRoche to be quite patient and never exceeded my tolerance. Afterwards, however, I noted an immediate improvement in my pain symptoms. The second half of the appointment is a session with a Certified Recovery Specialist who shows the patient follow-on exercises and stretches to continue the healing process. I was encouraged to continue to exercise as tolerated. Typically, a patient will undergo about three sessions over the course of a week to 10 days.
Dr. DeRoche worked on my Achilles for two sessions the week before my marathon. It seemed to help. I also got some great stretches and tips from the Certified Recovery Specialist. I’m pretty confident Airrosti helped me heal faster and ultimately finish the marathon.
A quick search of PubMed, the world-wide database of scholarly medical articles and research, did not reveal any scientific studies published about Airrosti. However, there are studies that a combination of manual therapy and active care can be beneficial in patients with musculoskeletal injuries. According to Airrosti’s own internal research, recent data analytics on claims data, and the research of my insurance company (who is willing to pay for this) suggest this is a useful treatment model. While my experience has been positive, your mileage may vary. However, if you’ve got a soft tissue injury, check out Airrosti — it may be helpful.
Here is the link to their website: www.airrosti.com
Do you have experience with Airrosti? Other recovery or rehabilitation modalities? Leave a comment below!
Keep a lookout for my next section on my experiences with acupuncture coming soon!