Around 33 million of your fellow Americans suffer from musculoskeletal injuries — roughly half of which involve tendons or ligaments. You might think a tendon injury like tendonitis is reserved for the avid athlete, but the truth is anyone and everyone is vulnerable. And when you do injure your tendon, the resulting pain can bring life to a screeching halt.
Treatment options range from RICE protocol all the way up to surgical repair, depending on the severity of the injury, but today, you have more options.
Back in 2009, the FDA greenlighted platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to treat injuries of all kinds, including (and especially) tendon injuries.
Board-certified pain medicine physician Dr. Raul Lopez and the rest of our team at West Texas Pain Institute offer these advanced, fast-acting, long-lasting PPR treatments to optimize your recovery and get you off the sidelines.
Athlete or not, here’s everything you should know about how PRP can help your tendon injury.
The 411 on PRP
PRP is a type of regenerative medicine that involves your own blood. Your blood may look like a red, sticky substance to the naked eye, but within a single drop, there are a variety of components, many of which have special uses.
The main components of your blood include red and white blood cells, liquid plasma, and small structures called platelets. Plasma acts as a vehicle transporting nutrients around our body, and platelets are super healers that show up at the scene of an injury.
To create PRP, we take a small sample of your blood and use a machine called a centrifuge to separate platelets and plasma. The result is a PRP solution that contains over five times as many platelets as “normal” blood.
We reinject the PRP solution into your tendon injury, and the platelets get to work. Platelets are crucial when you’ve been injured because they contain powerful proteins called growth factors that play a role in repairing tissues and generating new cells — something your torn, damaged, irritated tendon needs.
PRP is an excellent complement to other treatments, and we can even use it when surgery is necessary to expedite the post-op healing process.
PRP and your tendon injury
Athletes (think Tiger Woods) and non-athletes alike have flocked to PRP treatments to repair tendon injuries. After we inject PRP, the growth factors signal cells and chemicals involved in tissue repair to kick-start your body’s natural healing response.
We can use PRP injections to address chronic tendon and overuse injuries, including golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, and tendonitis.
It may take a few weeks for results to develop, but you can keep up with your regular routine during that time. PRP injections are virtually painless and don’t require any downtime. We do recommend that you avoid activities that stress the treatment area.
The best part? You can have repeat PRP treatments to tackle stubborn injuries and/or chronic conditions like arthritis.
Dr. Lopez and our specialists perform a thorough physical exam and review your health history before recommending PRP and other treatments. But if it’s right for you, PRP could unlock your body’s ability to heal itself and allow you to re-engage with life pain-free.
To learn more about PRP and other ways we address tendon injuries, call our friendly staff or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment at our El Paso, Texas, office today.