You may have heard of PRP injections being used by athletes to help them heal faster from injuries and return to play. This same therapy is available to almost anyone suffering from injured tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints. While there is still more research needed to solidify the benefits of PRP injection therapy, it is a low-risk procedure that has many patients vouching for its effectiveness.
What are PRP Injections?
PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma. A small amount of your own blood is drawn and put into a machine to concentrate the platelets. The concentrate is then reinjected into the body’s injured area. An ultrasound is used to precisely place the injection into the damaged area. The higher concentration of platelets accelerates your body’s natural healing. In fact, the injected PRP has a five to 10 time’s greater concentration of platelets.
Who Can Benefit From PRP Injections?
This procedure is intended to help patients with difficult-to-treat tendon issues, muscular injuries or arthritis. The goal is to help avoid surgery or recover from injuries where surgery is not the best option. There is evidence that PRP is better than steroid or “visco” injections for knee arthritis. It is also frequently used for Achilles tendonitis, rotator cuff tendonitis, hamstring injuries, patellar tendonitis and many other muscle/tendon injuries. Despite its frequent use for treating these conditions, the scientific evidence is not very robust, which is why PRP is not typically covered by insurance.
What Are The Outcomes?
Initial improvements can usually be seen in the first few weeks, but the process is gradual and may require multiple injections to achieve the desired outcome.
There is still a lot to learn about how PRP injections can benefit people who are injured or living with chronic pain. However, since it is the patient’s own blood being injected, it is a low-risk and drug-free treatment to help accelerate healing or reduce pain in those looking to avoid surgery.
Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at UCFHealth.com, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.
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