Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is becoming increasingly popular because it’s a revolutionary healing multitasker. For example, it reduces inflammation from osteoarthritis and helps heal wounds. However, PRP therapy also speeds up recovery from common overuse injuries like tennis elbow or shin splints.
PRP injections have 10 times the amount of healing properties that your body can produce on its own, which means that healing will happen much faster — making it a game-changing treatment solution.
At Genesis Pain and Regenerative Medicine in Colleyville, Texas, Don Enty, MD, and our team offer PRP therapy for your overuse injuries. This blog reviews how it works and whether PRP therapy is right for you.
PRP injections contain two blood components: plasma and platelets. Plasma is the liquid portion of your blood, and platelets are blood cells that assist your body’s healing process. Platelets assist with healing because they contain growth factors that reduce inflammation and encourage new cell growth.
When you sustain an injury, your body sends platelets to repair the damage. However, after the initial response, the platelet supply slows significantly, so healing can take a long time. PRP injections contain a high concentration of platelets, speeding up the healing process.
To make a PRP injection, we take a sample of your blood and place it into a centrifuge — a device that separates your plasma from your platelets. We then inject a serum with the concentrated platelets into the injured area, kick-starting the regeneration and healing process.
Repeating the same motions again and again can damage your muscles and tendons and cause inflammation that compresses nearby nerves. These painful overuse or repetitive stress injuries typically require rest, physical therapy, and sometimes steroid injections.
However, PRP therapy delivers natural healing properties directly to the scene, improving the biological environment and facilitating rapid tissue regeneration. Here are some common overuse injuries PRP addresses.
Repetitive hand and wrist use, especially activities that involve constant extensions and flexion, can irritate your tendons. The resulting inflammation narrows the space within your carpal tunnel — the channel that runs through your wrist — and presses on your median nerve, causing pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the ligament connecting the front and back of your foot — the plantar fascia — becomes irritated, inflamed, and less elastic.
Although plantar fasciitis can stem from ill-fitting footwear, genetics, and being overweight, it often develops when you start a new walking or running program, increase the intensity of your existing runs, or overuse your feet by standing or walking all day.
You may have plantar fasciitis if you have severe heel pain, particularly in the morning.
Overusing your elbow causes inflammation in the joint and may even cause microtears in the tendons that join your forearm muscles. We call this injury “tennis elbow” because it’s common among racquet sport enthusiasts, but you can develop Inflamed elbow tendons from any type of repeated swinging motion.
Tennis elbow causes pain and a burning sensation on the outer part of your elbow and may affect your hands by decreasing your grip strength.
Jumper’s knee is another overuse injury named for the activity that typically causes it. Although most common in athletes who jump, it can happen to anyone, especially those who frequently jump on hard surfaces. The repeated leg muscle contractions combined with the force of hitting the ground strain and inflame your tendons.
Classic jumper’s knee symptoms include tenderness under your kneecap, swelling, and pain when walking, running, jumping, or straightening your leg.
Athletes excel because they practice and play hard, focusing on perfecting specific actions and body mechanics and repeating those actions consistently. Unfortunately, what makes them successful is hard on their bodies.
Shin splints are an example of an overuse injury related to running and jumping. The repeated stress from these activities applies stress to your shin bones and strains your connective tissues and muscles. The damage increases if you don't give these tissues enough time to heal between activities.
Shin splints start with pain in the front of your lower legs that comes and goes, but it progresses if you don’t allow it to heal.
PRP therapy treats overuse injuries by reducing inflammation and pain and accelerating tissue renewal and healing. You may need multiple injections for optimal results, and if your pain persists, you may need long-term injections.
If you’d like more information on PRP therapy and want to discover whether it can treat your injury, contact our team to schedule an appointment. You can do this over the phone or online today.