Game, Set, Match: Beating Tennis Elbow with PRP by Regenexx

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Understanding Tennis Elbow

Lateral Epicondylitis, or more commonly known as "tennis elbow", is a condition marked by pain or tenderness on the outer part of the elbow. This discomfort often arises from overuse or repetitive movements; the swinging of a racket is the most common example, unsurprisingly. Tennis is associated with this type of injury because it involves the frequent rotation of the wrist and bending of the elbow, putting stress on the tendons connecting the muscles and bones of the upper and lower arm.

However, lateral epicondylitis isn't exclusive to tennis players. Any activity that involves a similar combination of movements, such as the use of hand tools or musical instruments, or sports that involve throwing, can also trigger the same inflammation and pain. Over time, the tendons can become noticeably inflamed and develop microtears, causing the characteristic pain of tennis elbow .

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The hallmark symptom of tennis elbow is pain in the outer elbow. This pain, often described as a burning sensation, is amplified with forearm activity and wrist rotation. Since lateral epicondylitis results from prolonged overuse, the discomfort typically develops gradually rather than from a single injury. This condition most commonly affects an individual's dominant side. Diagnosis involves a physical examination and specific tests by a healthcare provider to confirm the presence of lateral epicondylitis.

Exploring Conservative Treatments

Initial treatment for tennis elbow generally involves rest and avoidance of pain-inducing activities, combined with ice and anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen. Mild cases can often be fully resolved with these simple measures. However, if conservative treatments aren't effective, more advanced techniques like physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, and extracorporeal shockwave therapy may be employed to stimulate healing and improve blood flow to the damaged tissues.

When Surgery is Required

In the majority of cases, tennis elbow can be managed without surgery. However, if symptoms persist beyond 6-12 months despite conservative treatment, surgical intervention may be considered. This can range from arthroscopic tendon repair or debridement to more invasive procedures like tendon reconstruction or open tendon repair, in very severe cases.

PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) by Regenexx: A Game-Changer

Regenexx PRP is a novel and effective solution for joint pain and specifically, tennis elbow. Injections of PRP by regenexx , or platelet rich plasma, offer an innovative approach to treating the pain caused by chronic micro-injuries. The proprietary treatment involves the drawing of one's blood so subsequent, in-house laboratory processing can concentrate platelets and cytokines. The resulting serum can contain platelets at nearly 20-times the concentration of what is found in your blood. Injecting the serum of healing factors into a damaged area directly stimulates the body's natural healing process and initiates autologous repair.

This treatment by Regenexx is a specialized and superior form of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy designed specifically for musculoskeletal pain relief. Also called Super Concentrated Platelet Therapy, SCP sets itself apart with its high concentration of growth factors, harnessing the body's natural healing capabilities more effectively. Also, the Regenexx process involves a proprietary technique for extracting and processing platelets, ensuring their optimal functionality. Lastly, an array of serums are typically produced by this proprietary processing to allow for an optimal concentration of platelets to be delivered to each respective area of treatment. 

Live ultrasound or fluoroscopic imaging is used during the procedure to ensure that growth factors are accurately and effectively injected into the location of injury and pain. Following a PRP treatment, most patients return to their baseline pain within a few days to a week, with progressive improvements to their pain and function typically beginning around the fourth week post-treatment. For individuals with extensive injuries, several PRP injections may be required to achieve significant improvement.

Efficacy of PRP for Tennis Elbow

Clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of PRP in improving pain and function in tennis elbow patients. A double-blind study by Mishra et al in 2013 found a clinically significant improvement in pain scores in patients treated with PRP compared to a control group. Another study in 2017 by Kadam et al from MGM Medical College of Orthopedics further reinforced these findings, showing reduced pain and enhanced elbow joint function in patients who underwent PRP treatment.

With promising results such as these, PRP may become the increasingly popular alternative to surgery for intense cases of musculoskeletal conditions like tennis elbow.

If you've been grappling with persistent elbow pain, don't hesitate to take the next step towards healing. Book a consultation with Dr. Kohler at Ospina Medical to discuss whether PRP treatment is the right option for your journey to pain relief.

Written By: Dakota Boonstra

Edited By: Camden Rowe

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.