Injuries in the elbow are commonly caused by a well known condition called tennis elbow. Treating this inflamed tissue with surgery can result in loss of strength in the forearm or a decreased range of motion. Injection procedures have proven to be very effective in the elbow joint if you are experiencing any of the following conditions:
One of the most vexing conditions we treat is lateral epicondylitis (LE) or tennis elbow. We often see patients who present with severe elbow pain months after a seemingly harmless ‘I hit my funny bone”. How can this be.
The lateral epicondyle is the anchor (or origin) for a tendon called the common extensor tendon. It has 4 very busy muscles attached to it. To see which muscles look at the outside of your elbow now and do the following.
Now imagine how many times a day you use these muscles in your day to day activities. The common extensor tendon is a very hard working body part with a poor blood supply. Tendons receive 1/7th the blood flow as the muscles attached to them and can be a challenging to healing environment.
This is how a simple “I hit my funny bone” can lead to debilitating pain months later. The initial trauma causes micro tears in the tendon which the patient correctly interprets as “a little tendinitis” as inflammation sets in, “no big deal”. The common extensor tendon is strained 10,000s of times following the initial insult because it is nearly impossible to completely rest it. Meanwhile the tendon only receives a trickle of the blood that it needs to heal and things go from bad to worse. As the body’s initial inflammatory response wanes and the injury becomes chronic a process known as tendinosis begins to take hold. tendinosis is a whole different biochemical beast than tendinitis think of tendinosis as your body trying heal the tendon and digest it at the same time.
After conservative care has been undertaken the next treatment offered is typically a cortisone injection. While this treatment is effective in some the logic behind the mechanism of action may be flawed. Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory which stops the biochemical process of inflammation cold in its tracks. You might be asking well what’s the problem? Inflammation is the process by which your body heals itself. Yes, pain is one of the by products of inflammation, it is your body’s way of telling you to stop doing what you’re while it heals. Inflammation is also the process by which your body lays down new collagen and heals those micro tears in the tendon. Simply put if you stop inflammation you stop healing.
Platelet-Rich Plasma PRP injections are a new way of thinking in the treatment of stubborn tendinopathies like, tennis elbow. Using advanced technology, we concentrate the growth factors already present in your blood. Then using ultrasound guidance to pinpoint the sick part of the tendon we bathe the tendon in growth factors. Re-invigorating your body’s natural healing processes without medicine or surgery.
At The ROM Clinic we have been utilizing this technique for years to treat a host of orthopedic maladies with excellent results. However, let’s have a look at the medical literature and see what the most current research has to say regarding PRP injection and tennis elbow.