Wednesday, February 12, 2014

More Effective Healing Power? PRP

        Tendonitis, torn ligaments, rotator cuff tears and Achilles tendon injuries are just a few aliments that can plague athletes today. Extensive recovery time and pain keep one from coming right back to play but recently Platelet Rich Plasma, aka PRP therapy, has shown promising results. Athletes such as Hines Ward, Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant have used this treatment in the past years.

        How does PRP work? The patient’s own blood is taken and then spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelets and plasma from the red blood cells. It is this platelet rich plasma that is injected into the site of injury, often times guided with an ultrasound machine to achieve optimal placement. Many sports related injuries, especially ones like an Achilles tendon which have a poor blood supply to begin with, are difficult to heal. The enriched plasma injected into the injury site provides the injury with growth and healing factors to assist in the healing process.

        Not only has PRP been used to increase the strength of the tendon or ligament that is healing but it has been shown to reduce pain associated with the injury as well. A study took two groups of people both with tennis elbow (moderate to severe pain down the elbow) giving one group PRP therapy and a placebo to the other group. They found significant differences in the pain after both 12 and 24 weeks with the PRP group reporting less pain than the group that did not receive the injections. 

        Interestingly the usage of PRP therapy has not been limited to humans. Currently veterinarians are using it to treat soft tissue injuries in horses, and in other companion animals such as dogs and cats. The minimally invasive aspect of this procedure and the research to support its effectiveness make PRP an exciting new treatment.

Posted by Morgan Matuszko (2)


  1. This is a very cool development that I was not aware of. As an athlete it is interesting to learn about new ways that people create to naturally heal our bodies faster and more reliably. Very cool to learn about and I wonder if there has been any more prominent players to receive this treatment?

    Alex Sroczynski

  2. It seems that one of the most amazing aspects of PRP from reading your post is that the platelets and plasma come from the patient. It is also interesting to hear that someone thought to inject an arena with a low blood supply with components of blood to help the healing process; that it works is simply amazing. How severe of an injury can be treated with this treatment?

    Posted by Michael Dailing

  3. There are a number of athletes who have used PRP, including the Dodgers pitcher Takashi Saito, Steelers Troy Polamalu, and Tiger Woods.
    As far as severity of the injury that can be treated, I know it is mainly used for tendon/ligament injuries such as tears. It isn't necessarily a treatment though, more a healing aid. Some doctors have also been using it to aid in recovery of total joint replacement surgeries.
    Posted by Morgan Matuszko