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PRP THERAPY FOR THE TREATMENT OF TENNIS ELBOW

WHAT IS TENNIS ELBOW?

Elbow Pain Male - Front viewLateral Epicondylitis, more commonly known as “tennis arm” or “tennis elbow” is a common condition among professional athletes as well as weekend warriors. Besides sports, the procedure also often affects patients who have to lift heavy in their occupation.

Tennis elbow is an injury caused by overuse which results in tears of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow. As its name implies, tennis elbow is a common condition among athletes who practice tennis and other racquet sports, however, several other sports and activities may lead to this condition.

Overuse of the tendons that join the forearm muscles to the outside of the elbow leads to inflammation, tenderness, and pain.

CAUSES OF TENNIS ELBOW

  • Overuse. Studies show that tennis elbow usually occurs due to damage to a muscle called the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB), which helps stabilize the wrist when the elbow is straight. The ECRB may become weakened or damaged when movements that require to straighten the elbow are repeated. This leads to inflammation and pain.
  • Activities. Lateral Epicondylitis may affect any person who performs activities that require a repetitive and vigorous use of the forearm muscle, such as, auto workers, cooks, butchers, painters, carpenters, and plumbers. The repetitive movements and weight lifting required in these occupations may lead to injury.
  • Age. Tennis elbow is most common among people between the ages of 30 and 50, although this disease may occur at any age.
  • Unknown. Insidious lateral epicondylitis refers to the development of tennis elbow without a known history of overuse.

TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR TENNIS ELBOW

  • Medical management. About 80% of the patients who suffer from tennis elbow are able to recover with nonsurgical treatment. The common treatment approaches include rest, analgesics to reduce pain, steroids to reduce inflammation, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes.
  • Surgery. Surgical treatment may be considered for cases of tennis elbow in which nonsurgical treatments do not provide the necessary relief. The correct surgical approach will depend on many factors including the degree of damage to the tendons. As with any surgery, there are various risks that should be considered before pursuing surgical treatment of tennis elbow, including infection, nerve and blood vessel damage, and the loss of strength and flexibility on the arm.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Recent investigations support the use of PRP for the treatment of tennis elbow. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, PRP is a “very promising” nonsurgical therapeutic approach for lateral epicondylitis.

PRP INJECTIONS FOR THE TREATMENT OF TENNIS ELBOW

Man wearing elbow brace to reduce painLocal Platelet Rich Plasma injections can be an effective non-surgical treatment option for elbow pain as it stimulates the regeneration of the elbow joint. The procedure is often performed on professional athletes after tendon tears to accelerate the wound healing process and have them return to sport sooner.

PRP treatment for tennis elbow consists of injecting a solution with a high concentration of platelets into the affected area where the platelets stimulate the body’s own healing process. PRP is obtained from the patient’s blood through a simple procedure that includes drawing a small blood sample and centrifuging it to divide the blood components. Once injected, the platelets release certain molecules known as growth factors, which stimulate tissue healing and regeneration.

Various clinical studies have investigated the benefits of this novel treatment. For an optimal result, the PRP should be injected under ultrasound guidance.

A study performed at Bangalore Medical College in 2017, showed that patients who received PRP injections for the treatment of tennis elbow experienced statistically significant better pain relief than patients who received an anti-inflammatory drug called triamcinolone.2

According to a research study performed at Tongji Medical College in 2017, PRP appears to be more effective in relieving pain associated with tennis elbow and improving function than steroids, when compared at 12 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year.3

Overall, PRP is considered a safe and effective nonsurgical option for the treatment and management of tennis elbow.

Ask your doctor if PRP Therapy for the treatment of arthritis is the right treatment option for you.

CLINICAL REFERENCES:

1Anitua E, Sanchez M, Nurden AT, et al. Platelet-released growth factors enhance the secretion of hyaluronic acid and induce hepatocyte growth factor production by synovial fibroblasts from arthritic patients.

2Seetharamaiah, V.B., Gantaguru, A., Basavarajanna, S. (2017). A comparative study to evaluate the efficacy of platelet-rich plasma and triamcinolone to treat tennis elbow. Indian J Orthop. 2017 May-Jun;51(3):304-311. doi: 10.4103/ortho.IJOrtho_181_16.

Mi, B., Liu, G., Zhou, W., et al. (2017). Platelet rich plasma versus steroid on lateral epicondylitis: meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Phys Sportsmed. 2017 May;45(2):97-104. doi: 10.1080/00913847.2017.1297670.

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