Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy: An Overview

What are Tendons & Ligaments?

Tendons, composed of collagen fibers, connect muscle to bone making it possible for you to perform everyday physical activities. Overuse or damage to tendons over a long period of time causes the collagen fibers in tendons to form small tears, a condition called tendinosis. Damage most often occurs in the knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, wrist, biceps, calves, hamstrings and Achilles tendons.

Ligaments are also composed of collagen fibers, connecting bone to bone i.e joints: ankles, knees, shoulders, spine etc, stabilizing the joint and controlling the range of motion. A damaged ligament is no longer able to provide support, weakening the joints and shifting the burden of support to muscles (and then to tendons) which should primarily act as movement engines. Tendons and ligaments have poor blood supply particularly where they connect to bone (enthuses). Once injured (sprains or strains) they do not heal easily and the damage progresses with the stress of day to day activities. As a result the tendons and ligaments become inefficient, the muscles are over-taxed causing chronic pain and weakness and further damage. Medical intervention may be necessary.

I’ve heard of cortisone shots. Is this the same?

Studies have shown that the cortisone injections may actually weaken tissue. Cortisone shots may provide temporary pain relief and stop inflammation, but they do not provide long term healing. PRP therapy heals and strengthens these tendons and ligaments, strengthening and thickening the tissue up to 40% in some cases.

What can be treated with PRP Therapy?

PRP Injections can be performed in tendons and ligaments all over the body. Sports injuries, arthritic joints, lower back, degenerative disc disease and more specific injuries including tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, ACL tears, shin splints, rotator cuff tears, plantar fasciitis and iliotibial band syndrome may all be effectively treated with PRP.

Is PRP right for me?

If you have a tendon or ligament injury and traditional methods have not provided relief, then PRP therapy may be the solution. The procedure is less aggressive and less expensive than surgery. It will heal tissue with minimal or no scarring and alleviates further degeneration of tissues. There will be an initial evaluation with your doctor to see if PRP therapy is right for you.

How many treatments are needed and how often is this therapy administered?

While responses to treatment vary, most people will require 1-3, some as many as 6 sets of injections. Each set of treatments is spaced approximately 4 to 6 weeks apart. There is no limit to the numbers of treatments you can have, as the risks and side effects do not change with the number of injections.

Are there any special instructions?

You are restricted from the use of non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) one week prior to the procedure and throughout the course of treatments. Initially, the procedure may cause some localized soreness and discomfort. Most patients only require some extra-strength Tylenol to help with the pain. Ice and heat may be applied to the area as needed. The first week after the procedure, patients will typically start a rehabilitation program with physical therapy. However aggressive physical therapy is discouraged.

How soon can I go back to regular activities?

PRP therapy helps regenerate tendons and ligaments but it is not a quick fix. This therapy is stimulating the growth and repair of tendons and ligaments, and requires time and rehabilitation. Through regular visits, your doctor will determine when you are able to resume regular physical activities.

Does insurance pay for PRP Therapy?

Most insurance plans do not pay for PRP Therapy. Please contact one of our offices for the cost of treatment. Call us at 516-747-5042 or click here to fill out and submit an online form.

Posted in: PRP treatments