Offering elbow pain treatment with PRP elbow injections and physical therapy
At Physicians Rehabilitation, our goal is to provide our patients with comprehensive care to eliminate their pain and dysfunction without surgery. Using state-of-the-art therapies like platelet – rich plasma we can treat your musculoskeletal conditions and get you back to the life you love as fast as possible.
Platelet – rich Plasma (PRP) therapy enhances the body’s natural healing abilities for long-lasting pain relief and tissue repair.
Tendon and ligament injuries are challenging to treat because each has a limited ability to heal itself, due to a poor blood supply. While conservative treatment can improve each episode of pain, these conditions tends to chronic and difficult to eliminate. Surgery is highly effective but comes with other risks.
PRP treatment provides a safe, nontoxic, nonsurgical option to biologically enhance healing, treating pain by reducing inflammation, promoting repair, stimulating collagen production for firmer and more resilient cartilage, enhancing blood flow to deliver nutrients that support healing, and recruiting stem cells to regenerate tissues.
Tennis and Golfer’s elbow
Tennis and golfer’s elbow are tendinitis of an elbow tendon caused by repetitive strain and overuse that leads to microtears in the tendon. Manual laborers who work with their hands, and people who play racquet and stick sports are most often affected.
Symptoms are pain at the outside or inside of the elbow, pain with lifting, and pain that radiates down the forearm. Elbow tendinitis affects finger function and grip strength which makes life difficult. Common complaints are the inability to grasp or hold objects, turn doorknobs and shake hands. When the pain persists and affects sleep or leads to an inability to flex or straighten your arm it is time to seek treatment.
A 2016 study that combined data from multiple studies to determine the treatment effects found that PRP offers significant pain reduction, and substantial improvement in functional outcome when compared to steroid injections, and the effect was maintained longer than with steroids.
A 2019 clinical study confirmed that PRP and Tenex procedures were both successful in producing clinically and statistically significant improvements in pain, function, and quality of life in the treatment of elbow tendinitis.
Elbow Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Injury
The elbow ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) connects the inside of your upper arm to the inside of your forearm and while it doesn’t play a large role in everyday activities, repetitive stress damages the ligament causing tears. UCL is common in athletes who play overhead sports. UCL is an overuse injury caused by repetitive stress.
Symptoms are pain on the inside of elbow and swelling that results in elbow instability and pain with overhead movement. The result is poor throwing performance including loss of velocity, loss of control, difficulty warming up and pain when throwing in high level throwers.
Conservative treatment of partial thickness UCL tears involves rest, anti-inflammatory meds, progressive strengthening and an interval throwing programs. However, only 41% of athletes were able to return to play within 25 weeks.
Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory drug that provides short term symptom relief, and injections are often recommended for joint pain, but their pain-relieving effects wear off. Additionally, cortisone injections inhibit the body’s natural healing ability, and can actually cause degeneration of the soft tissue and bone loss with repeated use.
Surgical reconstruction of the UCL is very successful with about 90% of athletes able to return to previous level of play but recovery takes 9-12 months. Platelet rich plasma can be successfully used to treat UCL in high level throwers, in young athletes with acute damage to an isolated part of the ligament, and for athletes who are unwilling or unable to participate in extended rehab after surgical reconstruction.
What is Platelet – rich Plasma?
Blood is primarily plasma, the liquid that contains red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Platelets are best known for their blood clotting ability, but platelets are a natural reservoir of hundreds of biologically active proteins called growth factors that play a key role in wound healing and tissue repair. When there is an injury or inflammation, platelets flood the area to stop bleeding, and heal damaged tissues.
PRP is a solution made by concentrating platelets, and growth factors to increase potency. Increased concentrations of platelets and growth factors boost the body’s repair mechanisms and shorten recovery. PRP harnesses the power of your body’s natural healing abilities to promote healing, and regenerate tissues that help you recover quickly.
How is PRP made?
A small amount of your blood is collected and prepared to separate the platelets from the other blood components. The concentrated platelets and growth factors are
combined with the remaining blood and local anesthetic, for your comfort.
The PRP Procedure
The PRP solution is injected in to the injured area, often under ultrasound guidance. The activated growth factors stimulate the release of repair cells to accelerate the healing process and provide symptom relief.
Side effects are minimal and may include pain at the site of injection that can last for a few hours or days and swelling that resolves within a few days. After treatment a patient will be advised to rest and avoid exercise for a time.
Generally, it can take up to a month to experience pain relief which will improve over the course of 3-6 months after treatment. However, the recovery period is determined by the type and severity of injury.
PRP therapy offers pain relief without the risks of surgery, anesthesia, and a long recovery. In some cases, PRP therapy is an alternative to surgery; and in some cases, it is used during surgery.
PRP therapy stimulates and accelerates tissue repair and healing, without invasive procedures and the associated risks. PRP therapy may significantly improve your function and quality of life, so you can get back to the life you love.
Is PRP therapy safe?
PRP therapy is very safe. It is not a drug. Because it is made from your own blood and injected into the site of your injury or degeneration, there is no risk of adverse reaction, or disease transmission.
How does PRP work?
PRP injections soak injured cells in the concentrated plasma and the numerous growth factors to enhance one or more phases of bone and soft tissue healing. PRP also enhances proliferation of stem cells and fibroblasts to boost healing and regeneration of damaged tissues.
Platelets naturally accumulate and adhere to the site of an injury, where they release chemicals that regulate the mechanisms of healing including blood vessel development, cellular migration and proliferation. Additionally, studies report that the platelets in PRP produce signaling proteins that have antimicrobial activity, meaning they mobilize the immune system to prevent infection, which can also improve wound healing. Studies also report that bioactive molecules and growth factors reduce pain. Studies show that the increased concentration of growth factors catalyze the body’s repair mechanisms and shorten recovery time.
Benefits of PRP Therapy
PRP therapy reduces inflammation, relieves pain, promotes repair, increases collagen production for firmer and more resilient cartilage, enhances blood flow to deliver nutrients that support healing, and recruits and supports stem cells to regenerate tissues. PRP restores normal healing mechanisms and accelerates repair of damaged tissues.
The result is improved pain relief without the risks of cortisone injections, surgery, anesthesia, and a long recovery. Most patients can resume their work and activities immediately after treatment. In some cases, PRP therapy is an alternative to surgery.
Side effects are minimal and may include pain at the site of injection that usually lasts for a few hours and swelling that resolves within a few days.
Is PRP right for me?
When conservative methods fail to relieve pain and restore function, PRP therapy can help you heal with minimal scarring and halt tissue degeneration. It is a fast, painless procedure that takes just a few hours from start to finish.
Our physicians are specially trained in the procedures and preparation of PRP. Physicians Rehabilitation has locations in Fort Myers, Lady Lake, Naples, Port Charlotte and Sun City Center Florida for convenient, high-quality specialized sports-medicine and orthopedic services. Contact us to learn about how PRP therapy can benefit you.
- Arirachakaran A, Sukthuayat A, Sisayanarane T,Laoratanavoraphong S, Kanchanatawan W, Kongtharvonskul J
- Platelet-rich plasma versus autologous blood versus steroid injection in lateral epicondylitis: systematic review and network meta-analysis. J Orthop Traumatol 2016 17(2), 101–112.
- Bowden, AL, et al. Platelet-rich plasma versus Tenex in the treatment of medial and lateral epicondylitis J Shoulder and Elbow surgery Jan. 2019 v.28, Issue 1 pp 112-119
- Dines JS, Williams PN, Attrache N, Conte S, Tomczyk T, Osbahr DC, Dines DM, Bradley J, Ahmad CS. Platelet-rich plasma can be used to successfully treat elbow ulnar collateral ligament insufficiency in high-level throwers. Am J Orthop. 2016;45(5):296–300