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Alternative and Supplemental Therapies

When appropriate, Connecticut Children’s sports medicine specialists may recommend one of the following alternative and supplemental therapies to be used in coordination with physical therapy.

What is it?

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a treatment option for acute and chronic soft tissue injuries.  PRP is an injection of your own blood to help promote healing. Plasma – the liquid part of blood – contains the healing factors and components that help the process work. Platelets are small particles within blood that help with clotting and wound healing. PRP injections are made up of a concentrated number of platelets and other healing factors that boost the body’s healing response by 3-5 times in the area injected.

How are the injections of platelet rich plasma obtained?

PRP injections are prepared from your own blood. A small amount of blood is drawn; it is spun in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets and growth factors and then injected into the area of concern.

What can platelet rich plasma treat?

Chronic tendon injuries such as: tennis elbow, Achilles tendinopathy, patella tendinitis, plantar fasciitis – are well suited to be treated with PRP injections. Acute ligament and tendon injuries are also treatable with PRP injections. These include: MCL sprains, hamstring strains, and rotator cuff strains. Operative uses also exist when deficient tissue needs to be repaired or when augmented effects are needed.

What happens once the platelet rich plasma is ready?

When the concentrated platelets are injected into the injury site, studies show that the PRP improves healing potential and decreases healing time.

What are the possible side effects?

PRP injections can cause local increased inflammation or swelling, and increased pain for a short period of time. Ice packs and Tylenol (acetaminophen) help with this. Advil (ibuprofen) and other NSAIDs are not recommended for two weeks following injection treatments because they may inhibit the healing process stimulated by the injections. Some athletic governing bodies regulate the use of PRP injections very closely, and US Anti-doping Agency has placed this treatment on the “athlete’s advisory” list.

Why isn’t everyone using this?

The use of PRP injections has been limited. Small studies and case reports have been done thus far with somewhat mixed results.  In animal studies utilizing single repetition injury, healing time was not significantly improved. However, animal studies utilizing a repetitive strain model have shown healing times to be significantly improved.

Research Articles:

Foster TE, Puskas BL, Mandelbaum BR, Gerhardt MB, Rodeo SA. Platelet-rich plasma from basic science to clinical application. Am J Sports Med 2009; 37(11):2259-2272.

Hammond JW, Hinton RY, Curl LA, Muriel JM, Lovering RM. Use of autologous platelet-rich plasma to treat muscle strain injuries. Am J Sports Med 2009; 37(6):1135-1142.

Sanchez M, Anitua E, Orive G, Mujika I, Andia I. Platelet-rich therapies in the treatment of orthopaedic sports injuries. Sports Med 2009; 39(5):345-354.

Elite Sports Medicine, in conjunction with the Center for Motion Analysis, now offers same-day, high-speed motion video evaluation. Using up to three high-definition, high-speed cameras, it is possible to video any motion at up to 500 frames per second. This allows us to better understand your motion and how your mechanics may be leading to pain or injury.

Over the last three years we have used high speed video to analyze baseball pitching, golf swings, running, jumping, and gymnastic routines. The video evaluation takes about 15 to 25 minutes depending on the complexity of the motion.

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