PRP injections are a form of regenerative medicine that helps your body heal itself. This treatment uses platelet-rich plasma to stimulate tissue healing. PRP injections have many uses since they help heal joint and tendon problems, including treating tennis elbow. Here's what to know about using this type of regenerative medicine on your tennis elbow.
Tennis Elbow Is A Tendon Injury
Tennis elbow is a painful condition that's caused by overuse of a tendon. You might get the condition playing a lot of tennis, but you can get it from any repetitive motion that strains the tendon in your elbow. The pain from this condition can make it difficult to keep up with your usual activities.
PRP Injections Stimulate Tendon Healing
Tennis elbow is a condition where the tendon in your elbow has tiny tears in it. Until the tears heal, you will probably experience pain, and healing could take many months. The purpose of the platelet-rich plasma injections is to speed up healing by injecting platelets that contain growth factors into the injured tendon.
This is often done with the help of ultrasound imaging so the doctor can see the damaged area while inserting the needle. It may take a few weeks for the injections to work since your body has to repair itself, and that takes time.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Comes From Your Own Blood
When you have one of these injections, the doctor draws a blood sample from your arm first. This blood is then spun in a centrifuge so the components separate. The platelets are drawn off and used for the injection. Since the platelets come from your own body, the risk of side effects is low.
The Injections Can Be Painful
PRP injections trigger an inflammatory response in the injured tendon. This is normal, and it's the desired response. However, the inflammation can cause soreness or pain in your tendon for a few days after the injection.
Your doctor may want you to avoid treating the pain with anti-inflammatory medication since that would interfere with the effects of the injections. You'll be given post-injection care instructions, but you can probably resume many of your activities right away.
You may need multiple injections for complete healing, and your doctor might also want you to take physical therapy to help your elbow heal properly.
PRP injections could be the solution you need to help your elbow heal more quickly. If you play sports or you have a job that requires lifting and physical labor, it can be challenging to deal with tennis elbow. Strain can cause pain, and strain can also interfere with healing. It could take a long time to heal from tendon damage naturally, so taking PRP injections could be worth talking about with your doctor to see if they might be right for your condition.