We’ve heard about professional athletes who’ve had miraculous reductions in pain after receiving injections of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) — for example, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who won the Super Bowl in 2009 only a short time after undergoing this innovative treatment. While PRP is new enough that health insurance companies still aren’t reimbursing for it, it’s becoming more widely available to recreational athletes through sports medicine clinics. And the results are promising.
The Platelet Rich Plasma treatment involves removing a syringe of the patient’s own blood and then spinning it in a centrifuge to separate out “platelet-rich plasma” from the blood’s other components. Just the PRP is injected back into the patient. At this point, PRP’s principal use among recreational athletes has been for situations involving tendonitis — such as Achilles tendon issues or tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow. When I experienced tennis elbow five years ago, I was fortunate to be able to rid myself of the problem by taking several months off, getting accupuncture, physical therapy and Graston. This time, however, I just couldn’t shake it. My doctor and I decided it was time for either elbow surgery or PRP. [Read more…]