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Platelet Rich Plasma(PRP) Treatment for Tennis Elbow

April 9, 2018by Doug Ginter

The term “Tennis Elbow” is primarily described as tennis elbow pain. It is a painful medical condition affecting a lot of people and not just tennis players. It is a tendonous involvement of the extensor tendons of the wrist. In fact, it is an epicondylalgia that can affect many athletes.

What is epicondylalgia?

Epicondylalgia is a pain in the outer face of the elbow that develops acutely or chronically. It is due to an injury to the tendons of the epicondylar muscles that control the movements of the hand and wrist by acting on the fingers and stability of the wrist. It is thus a pain appearing mainly during the movement of the backhand.

Causes of tennis elbow

In non-athletes:
The occurrence of tendonitis of the elbow can be caused by one or more of the movements below:

  • simultaneous movements of forearm rotation and flexion of the wrist
  • Vigorous grip of an object with a rotation of the forearm inwards or outwards
  • Jerky movements of throwing

Among players/athletes, certain circumstances may favor the appearance of tendonitis of the elbow, such as:

  • Change of rope
  • Change of racket
  • Modification of the grip
  • Change of style of play
  • Playing with heavy balls
  • Change of surface

Other causes include DIY, painting, gardening, recent illness or taking certain medications.

Platelet injection to treat tennis elbow

In 90% to 95% of patients, healing is spontaneous. Several conservative treatments exist; rest, orthotics, oral anti-inflammatories, cryotherapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, acupuncture, shock waves, etc.

Sometimes, to control the pain, an infiltration of cortisone can be administered. When the pain condition persists over time and to avoid surgery, infiltration of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) should be considered.

Therefore, tennis elbow or epicondylitis can also be cured by infiltration of PRP (Plasma rich in platelets). The patient’s own platelets obtained by centrifugation after a simple blood test must be injected into the patient’s affected area. The goal is that growth factors contained in platelets act as a stimulant for the healing of epicondylar tendon cracks.

The injection is done under locoregional anesthesia and under ultrasound control inside the fissure. Do not take anti-inflammatory drugs one week after PRP injection to prevent the platelets from being inactive. It’saso advisable to avoid movements in the first phase to allow the tendons time to heal their lesions.

The PRP has been the most studied in sports medicine in the case of “Tennis Elbow.” The results, following an injection of PRP for epicondylitis in the studies, are excellent. Long-term pain relief and tendon healing are the most commonly observed outcomes. Therefore, before planning a surgery for your elbow tendonitis, an infiltration of PRP should be considered.

Doug Ginter