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.

Never Miss a Beat!

Get Healthy Tips Sent to Your Phone!

Message and data rates may apply. Text the word STOP to opt out and HELP for help. Click here to view the privacy and terms.

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 is a nationally recognized leader in physical rehabilitation. We are part of the largest rehabilitation network in western Pennsylvania and one of the largest in the United States, with locations across Pennsylvania and Maryland. Experts and support services at our inpatient rehab facilities and transitional units help patients recover from a variety of injuries and illnesses like brain and spinal cord injuries, stroke, trauma and amputation, transplantation, and more. We are home to Centers of Excellence for brain injury, spinal cord injury, and stroke rehabilitation. We combine our care with groundbreaking research to find the most cutting-edge techniques to treat our patients. Visit our website to find a location near you.