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  • Writer's pictureAdam Whatley

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), quickly becoming treatment of choice in Sports Medicine

What is PRP?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is A treatment which involves increased concentration of platelets. Platelets contain growth factors, and injecting PRP into injured or and area which is struggling to heal and recover is believed to enhance or speed up healing. PRP is becoming more commonly used to treat many sports medicine injuries. 

A sports medicine doctor will determine the best contents of the injection based off what is known to possibly help, his/her preference, and the patient’s injury/condition.

Why is PRP used?

PRP may be used for a variety of sports injury conditions. It can be used to possibly help with ongoing pain and dysfunction related to tendon injuries or joint injuries. Commonly treated areas include the patellar tendon (“jumper’s knee”), the medial and lateral epicondyle (“tennis / golfers elbow”), Achilles’ tendon and many more... PRP may also be used in acute strains or muscle tears, such as at the calf, quads, or hamstring. It may also be used at sites of soft tissue inflammation, such as the plantar fascia. Many doctors also advocate the use of PRP for arthritis and other degenerative joint conditions.

Sports Medicine Evaluation

Evaluation prior to use of PRP will be similar to a usual clinic visit, with a typical history and physical exam. Very rarely, laboratory testing will be required before the procedure to ensure that the patient has normal blood cell counts even before the procedure. Occasionally, some patients may experience a brief flare up of their pain for 4-10 days after the injection. This is normal and is a good thing. It is usually recommended to avoid oral anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naproxen for a few days before and several weeks after the procedure, but ice and acetaminophen can be used. Return to Sport

The return-to-activity timeline can vary depending on the reason why PRP was performed. Large muscle tears may require several weeks to fully heal, regardless of the procedure, while other indications may benefit from early focused therapy after a short period of rest. Chronic tendon injuries will typically take at least 3 – 6 months to heal. Most physicians will recommend some specific period of complete rest − and often immobilistion − following the injection. The physician will usually make the decision on return to sports based on repeat exams, and possibly, ultrasound. 

It is imperative that a good structural rehabilitation program commenced following PRP treatment to optimise full recovery.

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