Learn more about mechanical tendon scraping

Achilles and patellar tendon injuries are common and affect a wide spectrum of people. Both tendons are under significant loading during physical activity, and injuries can become chronic when they are not properly treated.

Traditional treatments include physical therapy, ice, anti-inflammatory medication, surgeries, and various injections such as corticosteroid or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. While successful, most traditional treatments require prolonged time away from activities, and this can be a source of frustration in active individuals.

For more information about this procedure, please visit the UPMC Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation website.

There is an emerging outpatient procedure known as “mechanical tendon scraping”. When done successfully, this procedure can result in a quick time to return to activities, usually within one to two days after the procedure.

In a recent ten-year follow up study by the Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden and the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health, University College London Hospitals, London, UK, results demonstrate that recurrence is uncommon after a successful mechanical tendon scraping, occurring only in 2-5 percent of people.

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The procedure takes only about five minutes and is done with local anesthetics. Unlike most other procedures that require a period of limited weight bearing, there is no weight bearing or activity restriction following this procedure.

Kentaro Onishi, DO, trained at Mayo Clinic, specializes in sports ultrasound and has been treating active individuals affected by Achilles and patellar tendon injuries using mechanical tendon scraping at UPMC.

Dr. Onishi says that while the name of the procedure may sound intimidating to some patients, it is truly non-invasive and meets patients’ need to return to activities as soon as possible.

For more information about this procedure, please visit the UPMC Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation website. You may also call 1-800-533-UPMC (533-8762) to make an appointment.


About UPMC Rehabilitation Institute

The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute offers inpatient, outpatient, and transitional rehabilitation, as well as outpatient physician services so that care is available to meet the needs of our patients at each phase of the recovery process. Renowned physiatrists from the University of Pittsburgh Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, as well as highly trained physical, occupational, and speech therapists, provide individualized care in 12 inpatient units within acute care hospitals and over 80 outpatient locations close to home and work.