Monday, October 23, 2017

Is PRP Effective for Treating Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow (also known as lateral epicondylitis) is a painful condition caused by repetitive movements of the arm or wrist, such as swinging a tennis racket or painting a wall. This causes the tendons to develop small tears, leading to inflammation and causing you pain.

Unfortunately, the nature of this injury means it can stick around for months. Injured tendons tend to heal very slowly, because they don’t receive as much oxygen as other parts of the body. Oxygen is transported through blood, so areas like the skin, which has plenty of blood vessels, receive enough oxygen for fast healing. Tendons, by contrast, don’t contain many blood vessels. As a result, they heal especially slowly—meaning tennis elbow can take anywhere from six months to one year to heal.

Many patients affected by tennis elbow have found that platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy has helped speed up their recovery time. This treatment is safe, minimally-invasive, and can provide lasting relief from pain.

How can PRP treat tennis elbow?

PRP provides oxygen to the body’s tendons by injecting blood platelets into the site of the injury. Platelets are small blood vessels that play an important role in the body’s natural healing process, so introducing them into the site of an injury can help stimulate and speed up recovery. It also promotes healing by supplying oxygen, through blood vessels, to the injured tendon. In other words, PRP takes blood platelets from another part of the patient’s body and transfers them to the injured area—in this case, directly to the damaged tendon in the elbow.

Since it relies on stimulating the body’s natural healing process, PRP doesn’t usually bring immediate pain relief. But over time, PRP can significantly lessen pain and increase physical function. For many patients, it also speeds up the healing process, bringing at least partial recovery after about six months—as opposed to the one-year recovery time that most patients experience.

For short-term tendon injuries, treatment is often not necessary. In the first few weeks, painkillers, rest, and some gentle exercises are usually the most effective treatments for tennis elbow. If the pain persists and the tendon appears to be degenerating, then PRP may be a viable treatment option.

PRP treatment has proven effective for many patients with tennis elbow and other joint and tendon injuries. If you would like to learn more about our alternative, cutting-edge techniques like PRP, contact us at 201-288-7246 today.

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