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How Gary was able to return to Hiking with PRP

Active throughout his life, Gary Wojton found a new passion as soon as he moved to Arizona: Hiking.

Retiring from the Chicago Public School System and relocating to Scottsdale in 2008, Wojton started hiking as a hobby. The hobby went from a slow start to a passion as Wojton averaged 4-8 miles a day. He traveled the McDowell Mountain Trails in Scottsdale, ventured off to Sedona and even hiked the Grand Canyon (from top to bottom and back to the top again).

“I never had pain to speak of until late December 2015,” Wojton, 65, said. “I was hiking on the Pinnacle Peak Trail and about 3 miles in, I felt sharp pains in the heel and ball of my right foot.”

Thinking jagged rocks on the trail caused the pain, Wojton wasn’t too concerned. Until he tried to hike the next day and the pain came shooting back. Wojton knew proper treatment would be to give his foot a rest, ice it, and wait a few days. It didn’t work and just walking was becoming extremely difficult, it was time to see a specialist.

In a May visit to Southwest Spine & Sports, Dr. Wolff diagnosed Wojton with plantar fasciitis and reviewed treatment options. Wojton learned about the benefits of Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy. “Dr. Wolff was aware of my low tolerance for injections, especially painful ones,” Wojton said. Wojton didn’t feel any pain from the injection.

Wojton arrived for the June appointment a little uneasy, thinking about injections and heel pain.

SWSS staff drew Wojton’s blood, prepared it to PRP, gave him a tibial nerve block injection, and using ultrasound guidance, Dr. Wolff administered a tibial nerve block, waited 15 minutes and then administered PRP to his heel. As Dr. Wolff explained, Wojton didn’t feel any pain from the injections.

“Following Dr. Wolff’s advice, I tried to stay off my foot for 48 hours,” Wojton said. “Then, I did just minimal walking to get the mail or go grocery shopping.” About 4-5 weeks later, Wojton’s pain had improved from the “9” level before PRP therapy to about a 3 or 4. There was still some mild pain, but he could walk and do everyday activities – except hiking.

“Dr. Wolff knew about my love for hiking,” Wojton explained, “so he spoke with me about having one more PRP treatment.” Once again, Wojton said he felt no pain during the treatment. After 7 weeks, Wojton went on a 4-mile hike.

Wojton now feels “reborn” with a renewed appreciation for his good health and his ability to hike again. “I put Dr. Wolff as one of my Guardian Angels,” he said. “He saved me, my psychological disposition, and has helped me get back to what I love to do!”


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