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Can Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Help My Tennis Elbow Heal Faster?

Tennis elbow is a nagging tendon injury that affects between 1% and 3% of the adult population and, yes, tennis players are more vulnerable. In fact, 50% of tennis players develop symptoms of tennis elbow at some point. Still, this condition certainly isn’t confined to the courts and can develop in people who use their arms in certain ways, such as machinists and painters.

Whether or not you developed tennis elbow on the courts, the outcome is the same — you have pain and tenderness in your elbow and you’re having trouble using your arm and hand.

While time and rest are certainly your best allies when it comes to healing from repetitive use injuries like tennis elbow, the team of musculoskeletal experts here at Western Orthopaedics offers another weapon — platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy.

Let’s take a look at how PRP therapy can help move up the recovery time frame on sports injuries like tennis elbow.

Tennis elbow — a soft tissue injury

The medical name for tennis elbow is lateral epicondylitis, which tells us where this injury occurs. Your elbow joint is made up of three bones:

  1. Humerus (upper arm bone)
  2. Radius (forearm bone)
  3. Ulna (forearm bone)

At the end of the humerus that meets your elbow, there are bony bumps called epicondyles, which is where several of your forearm muscles begin.

With tennis elbow, you develop damage in a tendon that’s located on the outside of the joint — your extensor carpi radialis brevis. As a result of this damage, you can develop pain and inflammation in and around the joint, which can lead to forearm pain as well as weakness in your associated hand.

Helping healing with platelets

In most cases, the treatment for overuse injuries like tennis elbow include:

In 80% to 95% of cases, these nonsurgical treatments are effective in treating tennis elbow. 

While our team certainly sees the value in this approach to treating tennis elbow, we also understand that it takes time — time you may not want to devote to healing.

If you’re anxious to get rid of the pain and regain use of your arm more quickly, we can try PRP therapy, which is a regenerative medicine treatment that focuses on creating the ultimate healing environment.

With PRP, we collect platelets from a sample of your own blood and redirect them into your damaged tissues. We focus on platelets because these cells are tasked with initiating the healing cascade in your body.

When there’s tissue damage, the platelets in your blood stop the bleeding and then release growth factors and proteins called cytokines, which work together to control inflammation and promote subsequent cell proliferation. This cell proliferation is what’s needed to repair and rebuild your damaged tendon tissues.

Another benefit of PRP therapy is that it’s autologous, which means it comes from your own body. Since this biologic therapy uses your own blood, your body readily accepts the help.

If you’d like to explore whether PRP therapy can play a role in helping your tennis elbow to heal more quickly, please contact one of our offices in Arvada or Denver, Colorado, to schedule an appointment.

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