Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is an alternative treatment method used for several common orthopedic related sports injuries, such as tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis and patellar tendonitis, which is sometimes referred to as jumpers knee. This treatment uses the patient’s own blood, which is placed in a centrifuge that rotates at a high speed and separates the red blood cells from the platelets. The platelet rich portion of the blood is then injected directly into the injured area, promoting healing. The platelets release growth hormones which greatly speed up the healing process encouraging the body to heal itself.
Platelet rich plasma therapy has proven to be immensely useful for healing sports injuries and it reduces the time that the sports person is out of action by about half. Recent studies have indicated that platelet rich plasma treatment is also useful for patients after car accidents, bad falls and with injuries that have been slow healing naturally.
Patients suffering from chronic tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) often need platelet rich plasma injections to reduce pain and to significantly increase movement and function. Compared with the traditional treatment of corticosteroid injections, the platelet rich plasma injections are natural and call on the body’s own immune system to do the healing. Many patients prefer to go with this treatment because it is natural and it usually also means less pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications are needed.
Advances in using platelet rich plasma therapy are being discovered every year and there are more and more uses for this treatment in orthopedics and other areas of medicine. If you have any injury that is slow in healing this may be a treatment option worth looking into. Most orthopedic clinics now offer platelet rich plasma therapy to patients, especially for joint related injuries and for after surgeries such as knee and hip replacements.