Chronic lesions are a common occurrence in the field of sports. However, medical science is not at a stage to ensure a shorter treatment time. Musculoskeletal tissue repair is often slow, dreary, and delays the return-to-field duration of the athlete. Yet, they’re perhaps the most common injuries for sportspeople out there. One of the increasingly popular treatment plans for these chronic musculoskeletal injuries is Leukocyte-Reduced Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, or PRP Therapy.
What is PRP Therapy?
PRP offers a safe, all-natural, quick, minimally invasive, and budget-friendly treatment plan for a range of injuries. These include the almost-regular sports, wounds, and shoulder injuries. This treatment can help restore patients back to health.
PRP treatment for sports injury wound care or shoulder injury for athletes involves the administration of the patient’s own platelet-rich blood. The doctor injects the blood into the area of the lesion to speed up the healing process.
This blood is high in concentration of regenerative, bioactive, autologous, and entirely natural growth factors. Compared to its alternative, low-concentration blood plasma, PRP blood is thirty times rich in proteins, PDGF, VEGF, TGF-Beta, FGF, and IGF-1. All these elements promote faster growth.
The Evidence for PRP
Animal-based research on autologous leukocyte-reduced PRP therapy for musculoskeletal sports injuries has shown promising results. However, clinicians are still on the edge about it.
Three of the most-cited studies on PRP for muscular healing can be viewed here, here, and here. All of these research papers examine extensively the effect of PRP on musculoskeletal injuries.
In the second study, in particular, magnetic resonance follow-up pre-injury and post-injury showed that patients had increased thickness in muscles where PRP had been injected. Moreover, the healing was complete, rather than how fragmented musculoskeletal injury healing usually is.
Some studies also indicate effective repair of nearly chronic injury of the MCL in the knees, returning the patient to their normal levels of physical activity before the injury had occurred.
However, while there have been positive results, both studies suggest that the data has its limitations and follow-up is still in process. Controversies exist purely because the treatment is fairly new. Hence, further research is necessary to validate PRP for musculoskeletal sports injuries.
In one of the aforementioned studies, for example, while the results favored PRP treatment, there were multiple limitations. These include a small number of patients, absence of a specific and repeated site of administration, and no long-term follow up.
Additionally, there is some evidence that the plasma used in PRP may have extra amounts of neutrophils, allergins and inflammation-causing cells. Consequentially, they may end up harming the muscles instead.
It’s entirely possible that PRP could emerge as a successful, non-invasive treatment plan for musculoskeletal sports and shoulder injuries. However, currently, specialists are treading with caution.
PRP could open a plethora of cost-effective, non-invasive, fast-paced medical procedures for musculoskeletal dysfunctioning. However, this depends on an increase in the methodologically approved qualitative results. Moreover, researchers need to test it over a wider sample size.