Have you recently suffered a sports injury? Are you considering retiring or getting fed up playing sports while in pain? Maybe you have a lingering knee or shoulder injury that, no matter what you do, will not get better?
During a 10-year span, 6.6 million knee injuries end up in emergency rooms across the country.
Knee injuries and other sports injuries can not only take your enjoyment out of the game and make you play bad; it can take the enjoyment out of your life.
Whether you’re in Portland, the surrounding area, or not, you’ll want to keep reading to learn some amazing things about PRP sports medicine. If you are in or near the Portland area, that’s even better.
What is PRP Therapy?
Since this article introduces you to PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) therapy, let’s first talk about what it is exactly.
Your blood already has platelets that are available to use. We take a concentration of your own blood and inject it back into the injury site. Then, it jumpstarts and accelerates your body’s healing process.
This concentration has WBCs (white blood cells), stem cell markers, and growth factors that are bioactive proteins. What happens next is your body starts repairing its tissue and regenerates faster. You will reap the most benefits of PRP with musculoskeletal injuries.
Who Benefits From PRP Sports Medicine?
Anyone who goes to a sports injury clinic can benefit from PRP injections.
The best candidates are those with injuries on their knees, shoulders, ankles, wrists, and hips, although there are other places where this form of regenerative medicine works.
People that play high and low-impact sports can benefit greatly from PRP therapy.
Often when your joints are damaged, they don’t receive enough blood flow. Without blood flow, the injury can’t heal properly, or it slows your recovery time.
Athletes want to get back on the ice, court, or field quickly; a sports medicine doctor who uses PRP therapy can make that happen. Even former athletes, especially those dealing with osteoarthritis, can use PRP to get back in the game or live without pain.
Then there are the tendons. Tendon injuries are challenging because they are usually in places where you use them a lot in daily tasks; tasks such as opening a car door or reaching for a glass in the cupboard.
Maybe you’ve become a parent for the first time in Oregon and are finding that picking up your kids isn’t easy because of an old injury? That’s probably your tendons talking. You can fix the problem at a joint preservation clinic using PRP.
A specialist will target the exact place of your tendonitis, and you’ll be able to do daily tasks much more easily while enjoying playing in the yard with your kids without grimacing in pain.
Can PRP Even Work?
Yes. PRP can work because a platelet is a special type of blood cell. Blood is made from 93 percent RBCs (red blood cells), 6 percent platelets, and 1 percent WBCs.
You might be asking, isn’t it the same thing as clotting? Sort of. It’s true when you have an injury, your white blood cells race to clot and start the healing process.
The major difference is your platelets are full of natural tissue growth factors. These natural tissue growth factors induce and speed up the healing process.
When you inject joints, tendons, or ligaments with the growth factors, it promotes healing at a high rate. But, there’s one thing you need to remember the platelets need to be concentrated first, or the process won’t work.
You might be thinking that PRP injections in sports medicine sound a lot like cortisone injections; yes, they’re similar. However, you can’t inject cortisone directly into weight-bearing tendons because that weakens them, and they’ll rupture. With PRP therapy, you can concentrate the treatment right at the source without the risk of rupture or further damage.
What’s the Cost?
Unfortunately, most insurance plans won’t cover PRP therapy procedures. Costs do vary around the country, and remember, you’ll probably be paying out of pocket.
Many insurance companies still think PRP therapy is an experimental treatment. But it’s probably worth it if you can afford it. The typical knee injection costs about $500 – $1,200 depending on what facility you choose and where.
What Are the Side Effects?
PRP therapy isn’t dangerous, but like most medical procedures, there are some potential side effects. These side effects include pain at the injection site, infection, nerve injuries, and tissue damage.
The great thing about PRP therapy is that it’s autologous. Autologous means it’s from your own body. And because it’s from your own body, your risk of an allergic reaction is significantly reduced.
As always, remember to discuss any potential side effects with your doctor. And don’t forget to ask him or her what steps they will take to reduce the risks of side effects.
What’s the Recovery Time?
None. Well, that’s not entirely true. For the most part, you can go right back to your daily routine. But there are some cases where your doctor will recommend some downtime.
That depends on the nature of your injury. In most cases, you’ll get right back to doing the things you normally do.
PRP Therapy During Surgery
A new trend has emerged in PRP therapy. Some in the field believe PRP injections can help during surgery. It was first studied during rotator cuff surgery. But little or no benefit was found.
They also tried to use PRP therapy during surgery on a torn meniscus, but that wasn’t found beneficial. There was research done during surgery on the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), but they found it was of little to no help.
However, while researching these surgeries, they found that using PRP therapy post-surgery helped the healing process with these injuries.
Whether you’ve been hurting for a long time or recently injured yourself, PRP sports medicine can work wonders. PRP therapy can have you back in the game or back to work faster than ever before.
Contact us today if you’re ready to heal.