PRP Treatments for Tennis Elbow, Ligament Injuries, Joint Arthritis & More

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is an innovative approach to treating many musculoskeletal injuries and conditions throughout the body. The injection is gaining popularity as an excellent alternative to Orthopaedic surgical intervention across the world.

In this article, we will explain what platelet rich plasma is and explore how the therapy can be utilized to manage and accelerate improvement in various musculoskeletal conditions.

What Is PRP Therapy?

Platelet-rich plasma refers to the portion of your blood that contains platelets and growth factors. PRP therapy is a safe procedure in which blood is drawn from your vein (often from the arm), spun in a centrifuge to isolate and concentrate platelets and growth factors away from other blood components, and then inject the PRP back into soft tissues (muscle, tendons, ligaments) or joints. Upon injection, platelets release growth factors which can help decrease inflammation, stimulate tissue repair, promote healing of tendon and ligament injuries, and alleviate symptoms associated with conditions like tendinitis, ligament and tendon tears, and osteoarthritis. This process aims to accelerate the natural healing responses of the body and improve pain relief.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) often is indicated in various medical conditions, which include but are not limited to Orthopaedics/Sports Medicine, Dermatology, Dental and Oral surgery, Ophthalmology and more.

Within Orthopaedics/Sports Medicine, PRP is commonly used for tennis and golfer's elbow, partial tears of the ulnar collateral ligament, knee or other large joint arthritis, and more.

PRP for Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis or common extensor tendinitis, can occur from a repetitive gripping or motion of the wrist. The pain is felt around the outside of the elbow and radiates down toward the forearm and wrist due to swelling in your tendons.

PRP therapy can be an effective treatment when dealing with tennis elbow. It promotes the body’s natural healing process by injecting the patient’s plasma into the painful region along the muscle-tendon-bone junction. The plasma contains proteins that are also known as growth factors, and these proteins can assist in the downregulation of inflammation and healing of partial tears, which ultimately yield pain relief and return of function. PRP is an excellent alternative to steroid injections which has the propensity to break down tendons and accelerate tear progression and soft tissue disease.

The specific indication for PRP can vary based on an individual’s condition, the severity of the problem, and the recommendations of the treating healthcare provider. It is important to consult with a qualified healthcare provider to determine whether PRP is a viable option for your ailment. However, the literature has shown excellent results with incorporation of PRP into the nonoperative management algorithm for tendinitis and smaller sized common extensor tears and may be considered in many cases as an alternative to surgical repair when other nonoperative treatment modalities have failed.

PRP for Ligament Injuries

PRP injections are gaining traction in the management of ligament injuries. One in particular I consider it for is in my throwing athletes with injuries sustained to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL).

The majority of UCL injuries occur in our overhead athletes where the throwing motion puts a tremendous load on the ligament and may result in injury, inflammation, and tears. Throwers often report pain and loss of velocity/control upon injury to this ligament. UCL tears may also occur from falls or other traumatic injuries.

PRP has become a promising treatment option in particular for partial thickness tears to augment the nonoperative management protocol. The concentrated platelets help stimulate collagen formation and a healing response, restoring the integrity of the UCL to allow an athlete to avoid surgery and enable them to return to play faster. One should consult with an elbow specialist to evaluate whether you may be a candidate for PRP as an alternative to surgical intervention and/or to augment the nonoperative rehabilitation program.

PRP for Arthritis

Patients who suffer from arthritis experience inflammation and pain resulting from cartilage loss and bone-on-bone contact/wear. When the cartilage surface on both sides of the joint is lost, one loses the cells that make the lubricant fluid for the joint and form the frictionless surface of the joint that optimizes range of motion and function.

PRP therapy can be an effective treatment when dealing with arthritis as it has been shown to decrease the inflammatory cascade which results in improved pain relief.

Results from PRP therapy vary with each patient depending on the extent of the knee, shoulder, or other large joint arthritis. However, the literature is encouraging, with numerous studies demonstrating improvement in symptoms of pain and stiffness, mobility and function, and quality of life when PRP is employed compared to other nonoperative interventions.

Conclusion

PRP therapy for tennis elbow, ulnar collateral ligament injuries, arthritis, and several other musculoskeletal conditions can down regulate inflammation, promote healing, accelerate recovery, and serve as an excellent alternative to surgical intervention in the right setting.

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, call (214) 720-9338 to request an appointment or consultation with my team at Carrell Clinic.

For more information on PRP treatments, please use the button below.

Learn More

Videos on tennis elbow, ulnar collateral ligament injuries, and PRP as a treatment modality are available below.

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