There are hundreds of tendons throughout the human body, but only a handful can experience tendonitis from chronic overuse. Tendonitis can be a difficult condition to treat since the tendons that can suffer from the condition have poor blood supply. Because of this, Dr. Waterman offers PRP injection therapy to help accelerate tendon healing following overuse. Platelet injection for tendonitis is clinically proven to help heal damaged tendons where there is limited blood supply.
What is Tendonitis and how is it Commonly Treated?
Tendons are tough flexible bands of fibrous tissue that are responsible for connecting muscles to bones. Tendons can range from very small (a hand tendon) to very large (the Achilles tendon). Tendonitis is quite common in the athletic community from constant overuse that causes the tendon to become inflamed and irritated, leading to severe, chronic pain.
There are hundreds of tendons throughout the human body, but only a handful of tendons develop tendonitis. These tendons are located in areas of the body where there is a poor blood supply. When there is a poor blood supply, the tendon has a hard time absorbing the oxygen and nutrients necessary for healing. Many orthopedic specialists prescribe conservative measures as initial treatment for a damaged tendon, including rest, ice, modified activities and physical therapy. If conservative measures fail to alleviate pain, Dr. Waterman may recommend a platelet injection for tendonitis.
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What is PRP Injection Therapy?
PRP injection therapy is a popular form of regenerative medicine that combines medical technology with the body’s natural abilities to heal itself. Human blood is composed of four main structures, including red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma and platelets. Researchers have found that once activated, platelets release healing proteins called growth factors. Growth factors occur naturally and are capable of stimulating cellular growth and accelerating tendon healing.
Have a question about biologic treatment? Dr. Waterman answers frequently asked questions.
How Does a Platelet Injection for Tendonitis Work?
To perform a platelet injection for tendonitis, Dr. Waterman will draw approximately 30 milliliters of a patient’s blood. The blood sample is then spun in a machine, called a centrifuge, which uses high speeds to separate the four main structures of blood. Once the structres are separated, the platelet rich plasma (PRP) is removed and injected into the injured tendon. The platelet rich plasma then releases three to five times the growth factors compared to normal human blood.
A platelet injection for tendonitis takes less than 15 minutes. The majority of patients will require 1-3 sets of PRP injection therapy with each set spaced 4-6 weeks apart. Since PRP is obtained from the patient’s own blood, the risk of reaction is low. As with any injection, there is a small risk of injury to any structures in the area, as well as a very small risk of infection.
For additional resources on PRP injection therapy, or to determine if you are a candidate for a platelet injection for tendonitis, please contact the office of Dr. Brian Waterman – shoulder specialist and knee surgeon.