Because tendons receive very little blood flow, tendon injuries are very slow to heal. Overuse injuries like tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow can cause chronic problems that interfere with your ability to lead an active lifestyle or engage in your favorite sport.
Regenerative treatments like platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) are a game changer in treating tendon and joint injuries. Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Matthew Pifer, MD, specializes in sports medicine and biologic therapies. Platelet-rich plasma can help accelerate healing, reduce pain, and restore function in overuse injuries like tennis and golfer's elbow.
Tennis elbow is caused by swelling of the tendons that allow your wrist to bend backward away from your palm. It can occur from an acute injury, degeneration of the tendon, or irritation from repetitive motions.
Golfer's elbow is inflammation where your forearm muscles' tendons connect to the bony bump on the inside of your elbow. The discomfort may expand to your forearm and wrist. It’s like tennis elbow, but you don’t have to play sports to develop this problem.
Activities that require you to clench your fingers or use your wrists regularly can cause golfer’s elbow or tennis elbow.
PRP therapy is a well-studied treatment for tennis and golfer’s elbow. When compared to corticosteroid injections, PRP therapy significantly reduced elbow pain and enhanced function, outperforming corticosteroid injections even after a two-year follow-up.
Treatment is done in-office. It involves making a highly concentrated source of platelets using a patient’s own blood and injecting this platelet-rich plasma into the damaged and inflamed tendon.
Platelet-rich plasma contains growth factors and other beneficial substances that stimulate healing and tissue regeneration.
Many of our clients experience improvements in pain and begin to feel better after 3-4 weeks, but we expect noticeable improvements at around 6 weeks. It is crucial to remember, however, that patients heal at varying rates, and some patients respond better to PRP than others.
Unlike treatments like corticosteroid injections, PRP therapy addresses the root cause of pain in overuse injuries. By assisting the body in healing, PRP therapy provides a long-term solution.
PRP is a very promising treatment for tennis elbow and has produced a great outcome for many of our clients in terms of pain relief and restoring function.
Dr. Pifer will recommend an individualized treatment regimen. The number of treatments recommended will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of your symptoms. In many cases, three injections provide an optimal outcome. Injections are typically given two weeks apart. However, each situation is unique, and it can vary widely depending on your particular case.
If tennis elbow is keeping you off the court or golfer’s elbow is affecting your swing, PRP therapy may be the solution you’re looking for. For a comprehensive evaluation and to learn more about how PRP therapy can relieve your pain and restore your active lifestyle, contact our Santa Barbara, California office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Pifer.