The PRP therapy or Platelet Rich Plasma therapy has been widely used throughout Europe for a number of years already. In the United States, PRP therapy is becoming more sought after, because the benefits of this therapy are becoming better known. The idea isn’t new – attempting to inject irritants or needle tissue to an injured area in an effort to improve the blood flow has actually been going on for decades.
PRP therapy is a fairly recent treatment that’s designed to help with soft tissue regeneration like tendons and ligaments, as well as overall healing. Just recently, PRP therapy has found a new place in sports medicine treating athletes with injuries. Understanding how PRP therapy works starts with learning a little about the science of ligament and tendon injuries.
Collagen fibers make up your tendons and ligaments. These collagen fibers can be stretched or even become torn when an athlete sustains an injury. You will often hear a doctor refer to these types of injuries as sprains or strains, or sometimes as tears. These are vascular structures so they have blood vessels and when they are injured, these blood vessels bleed. If there is significant bleeding a bruise develops where the injury occurred.
Healing is improved when the blood flow to the area is increased. The blood carries both platelets and growth factors, which promotes the healing of the tissue by creating new collagen fibers. These new fibers are constructed in layers that are organized that then allow the tendons and ligaments to heal properly so the full strength, movement and flexibility return.
Healing doesn’t always happen properly and so instead of the body creating healthy new collagen fibers the body forms scar tissue. The #1 risk factor for this to occur is when there is not enough blood flowing to the area.
Scar tissue restrains the flow of blood even more, because small blood vessels and capillaries simply cannot break through the scar tissue to deliver the necessary blood flow to the injury. This causes the tissue to not be able to properly heal.
Athletes dealing with an injury that has not properly healed can find it exasperating. After all, they just want to get back in the game. They have likely tried many treatments that might include one or more of the following – anti inflammatory medicine, pain medicine, topical creams, cortisone injections, physical therapy, braces, acupuncture and massage. When they don’t work properly, it can be frustrating.
But why don’t they work? That’s because all of these treatments focus on treating your pain and inflammation; however, they don’t address the real problem - your scar tissue, They also don’t treat poor blood flow and fiber disorders.
For many athletes the outcome is living with a disability and being in constant pain, which can lead to surgery. PRP therapy can be the solution. With PRP therapy a single draw of the injured party’s blood is drawn. Then a special centrifuge machine spins the blood to separate it and to concentrate the platelets that cause tissues to heal.
There is no risk of rejection or reaction because the smallest quantity of concentrated platelets is pure. The process is natural, but for the process to work they have to be added to the right place. This is done by the athlete’s doctor, who will use an ultrasound to find the exact place of the tendon or ligament injury. The doctor then injects the PRP directly to the identified area. It can even be injected in collagen fibers that are tightly woven, or it can be injected into small tears. Once the platelets are injected into the area, they are activated. They will also start to draw proteins and other healing factors to the area and the tissue starts to heal and rejuvenate.
PRP therapy can:
• Help the athlete dealing with acute injury that can take 8 to 12 weeks to heal.
• Help the athlete dealing with chronic injury or chronic pain
• Can speed up the healing process of athletes dealing with acute or chronic tendon injuries:
• Foot and Ankle - Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis and
• Knee - Patellar tendonitis and tears, quadriceps tendonitis and tears
• Thigh - Hamstring strains
• Elbow - Medial epicondylitis, lateral epicondylitis
• Shoulder - Rotator cuff tendonitis and partial tears
PRP therapy is also used to treat acute and chronic ligament sprains and injuries of the elbow, hand, knee, foot and ankle.
Recently there’s been quite a buzz around PRP therapy being used to treat osteoarthritis, which many athletes suffer from. The word arthritis means inflammation. With Osteoarthritis the cartilage begins to wear away, which is an essential part of any joint acting as a shock absorber and creating smooth movement. As it erodes, it causes pain, swelling stiffness.
It has not yet been proven whether PRP therapy can successfully regrow cartilage, but there is plenty of evidence that it is effective in treating arthritis.
In fact, recent studies prove that PRP therapy is significantly more effective than the current conventional treatments and that PRP therapy even outperformed hyaluronic acid injections in studies.
This proves that PRP therapy may provide an outstanding non-invasive alternative treatment for arthritis symptoms and reduce the need for ankle, knee, foot, shoulder and hip replacements.
When it comes to the treatment of sports injuries, the PRP therapy is proving to be an exciting new treatment option. It get’s more exciting. When athletes combine PRP therapy with human growth hormone they can help create faster and better healing results. HGH has all kinds of benefits in addition to speeding up the healing process; to find out more about the benefits of HGH read more here!
As more and more athletes learn about PRP therapy and its healing benefits the more likely they are to using it. But remember to consider making HGH part of the treatment to really reap the full benefits. Of course, PRP therapy isn’t just for athletes and can be used to heal all types of injuries in non athletes as well.
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