PRP for Elbows
Our patients wonder all the time how their tennis elbow should be treated. Many people think they need surgery to correct this issue, but modern medicine has provided doctors with new ways of treating tennis elbow that areh more effective and definitely less invasive.
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is the layman’s term for lateral epicondylitis. This means that the bump on the outside of your elbow that contains the tendons that extend your fingers and wrists is irritated with small tears. AS these tears get worse, they can cause nerve irritation in the shoulders and neck. This is why more severe cases of tennis elbow often feel like a pinched nerve, although the pain typically begins as a dull ache on the outside of the elbow.
Despite the name, tennis elbow doesn’t just affect tennis players. Tennis elbow is a repetitive stress injury that affects painters, carpenters, musicians, or anybody who engages in activities involving repetitive arm motions.
How Can Tennis Elbow Be Treated?
Severe cases of tennis elbow have traditionally been treated through surgery. This essentially involves making small incisions called fenestrations in the tendons. These fenestrations are registered as injuries by the body, which begin to heal along with the irritation that was causing the condition in the first place. While this does make sense, the use of this treatment has been dropping steadily over the last few years as new treatment options have been found.
Steroid injections have also been used to treat tennis elbow. Studies have shown that this does provide short-term relief as the injections reduce inflammation, but the steroids can kill off healthy tendon cells and make tendons weaker in the long run.
PRP for Tennis Elbow
Another promising new treatment for tennis elbow is Platelet Rich Plasma injections. Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP is blood taken from an arm vein and spun down to concentrated platelets. These platelets are injected into the painful tendons. The treatment, which has proven to be more effective than steroid injections in clinical trials, triggers an inflammatory response and promotes healing in the damaged tendons.
PRP injections are at their most effective when they can be administered under precise imaging guidance since doctors can pinpoint where the small tears are in the tendons. By administering the injections directly to the damaged tissue, doctors can better help irritated tendons to repair themselves.
Dr. Ronit Adler MD is an expert pain management specialist in New York. Give her a call today at (631) 485-1137 and schedule your consultation.