Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) has been widely used as a method for addressing sports-related injuries. Tiger Woods, Alex Rodriguez, Hines Ward, and Kobe Bryant are all examples of professional athletes known for undergoing PRP therapy to treat sports injuries. PRP treatment serves as an attractive and less-invasive sports medicine treatment method.
At EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region, we know and honor how much our patients rely upon the sports, activities, and motion-filled life they enjoy. Our world-class fellowship-trained Sports Medicine physicians offer PRP treatment to help athletes and active adults Emerge Stronger. Healthier. Better.
“I have been treating my patients with PRP treatments for over five years with great results. My experience being a former North Carolina State basketball player has helped me understand an athlete’s desire to return to sports efficiently. No matter what your level of activity is PRP is a great option to choose to get you back into the game of life,” says EmergeOrtho’s, Dr. Benjamin Petty.
What Is a PRP Injection? How Many Treatments Are Required for Sports Injuries?
PRP therapy has been used for general orthopedic injuries (such as osteoarthritis) for more than a decade. The minimally-invasive, innovative method increasingly gains more traction as a widely-used approach for treating sports-oriented injuries for several reasons. This is largely due to the way PRP is applied. PRP treatment uses a person’s own growth factors to encourage healing, rather than relying upon medication, steroid injections or more invasive surgical procedures.
A cross-sectional study published in the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine stated that an estimated 93% of physicians used PRP in their practices to treat athletes in the following professional organizations:
- National Football League
- National Basketball Association
- Major League Baseball
- National Hockey League
- Major League Soccer
- Power Five Division I conferences of the National Collegiate Athletic Association
Once extracted from the red blood cells, growth factors are concentrated and re-injected at the site of injury. An injury may require more than one PRP treatment to fully heal an injury.
Five Common PRP Treated Sports-Related Injuries
In addition to being minimally invasive, another advantage of PRP treatment is that it can be applied to several areas of the body affected by sports traumas, which include:
- Wrist and Hand
- Ankle and Foot
Five common sports-related injuries addressed through PRP treatments include:
- Tennis Elbow
Forearm tendons and muscles can become injured from overuse. When this occurs and lateral epicondylitis is diagnosed, PRP treatments have shown to be helpful in addressing pain and inflammation.
- Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendinitis affects the tendon that runs down the back of the leg. While runners and athletes involved in jumping sports are susceptible to this condition, Achilles tendinitis can result from simply walking or climbing the stairs. Of patients treated with PRP for Achilles tendinitis, clinical success was achieved in 28 of 30 of the participants.
- Rotator Cuff Injuries
When a rotator cuff tear occurs, the tendon has been separated from the bone. In addition to pain and inflammation, rotator cuff tears and tendonitis can lead to restricted mobility. PRP injections have been shown to help reduce symptoms, improve range-of-motion, and encourage a faster return to sports and activity.
- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Many different sports have the potential to cause pain in the front of the knee and kneecap. When this condition, known as patellofemoral pain syndrome is diagnosed, an orthopedic physician may apply platelet-rich plasma injection knee treatments to reduce pain and discomfort.
- Hamstring Tear
Similar to rotator cuff injuries, hamstring tears have shown positive healing outcomes leading to a quicker return to sports activities as a result of PRP therapy.
Again, the list above is simply some of the ways that PRP therapy is useful in addressing sports-related injuries. In addition to helping athletes return to sports as quickly and safely as possible with the use of PRP therapy, our EmergeOrtho sports medicine experts have been able to use PRP treatments for a host of other orthopedic conditions. If you would like to know more about the process of PRP treatment, call us any time at 919-220-5255. Or, feel free to self-schedule an appointment now.
Dr. Benjamin Petty is the Director of The Orthobiologic Center of EmergeOrtho-Triangle Region.