There are over 33 million musculoskeletal injuries reported every year with nearly half of these cases involving injury to the tendons and ligaments.
Tendon strain can occur in almost any tendon in the body, leading to pain, tenderness, swelling, or limited mobility. This can interfere with one’s ability to partake in routine activities like walking and mowing. The good news is that there are multiple ways to treat tendon strain, including platelet-rich plasma.
A medical professional may recommend platelet-rich plasma therapy if a tendon injury fails to heal with rest and physical therapy. Also known as autologous conditioned plasma, experts believe that the healing properties of plasma and platelets can accelerate the healing process.
Injecting inflammation or tissue damage areas with platelet-rich plasma can encourage tissue growth and promote cellular regeneration. Read on to learn more
What Is Tendon Strain and How Does It Happen?
A tendon strain is an injury that occurs when a tendon stretches too far. It is a common injury among athletes who play contact sports like boxing, football, and hockey. Repetitive motions in non-contact sports like rowing, tennis, and golf can lead to tendon strains. These injuries can also occur if you do a lot of weight lifting.
A tendon strain can be mild, moderate, or severe.
Grade 1 Strain
The tendon is overstretched, with small tears. The pain is mild, and you may have minor swelling.
Grade 2 Strain
The tendon is overstretched, and multiple fibers are torn. There is no complete tear in the tendon, but you may experience moderate pain and swelling, bruising tenderness, and limited mobility.
Grade 3 Strain
You may hear a pop sound at the time of injury. The strain is severe, with most fibers torn and a complete tear in the tendon. Typical symptoms include pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising, and limited mobility.
Common Treatments for Tendon Strain
The gold standard for treating tendon injuries is called RICE therapy:
Avoid putting weight on the injured area for 2-4 days. This includes not lifting an affected elbow or wrist. See your doctor as soon as possible if you cannot put weight on an injured ankle or knee.
Place a bag of ice on the injured area for 10 minutes at a time, and take it off for at least 30 minutes during the first three days. The ice constricts the blood vessels, slowing inflammation and easing pain. Be careful not to ice for too long, as that can lead to another injury.
Wrapping the injured ankle, knee, wrist, or elbow in an elastic bandage or wearing a compression sleeve keeps the swelling down.
Lie down, place the injured area on a pillow, and keep it elevated above the heart. This keeps fluid from accumulating in the treatment area, thus reducing swelling.
What Is PRP Therapy?
Platelet-rich plasma is a type of cellular therapy that promotes healing. Plasma is a blood component that contains unique proteins that promote clotting. It also contains proteins that promote cell growth. Doctors produce PRP by isolating plasma from blood and concentrating it.
The idea behind PRP therapy for treating tendon injuries is that it’ll promote the growth of new, healthy cells and get you on the path to recovery. Because the injections have concentrated growth factors, PRP is thought to speed up recovery after an injury.
PRP therapy injections usually take half an hour, though this timeframe may fluctuate depending on the targeted area. Once in the treatment area, the platelets break down and release growth factors. This triggers the healing process.
How Does PRP Work?
Platelets play a vital role in healing wounds because they help with clotting and support cell growth. To prepare a PRP injection, a medical professional will take a sample of your blood. They’ll then seal the sample in a container and put it into a centrifuge.
Spinning at high speed, the centrifuge will break down the blood into separate components, one of which is platelet-rich plasma. It’s this plasma that the doctor will inject into the injured area to trigger healing. Ultrasound imaging is sometimes used to guide the injection.
Using PRP for Tendon Strain
Most doctors use platelet-rich plasma as part of a larger treatment plan to reduce pain and improve function. The main goals of PRP therapy for tendon strain include:
- Reducing chronic pain
- Repairing damage to tendon tissues
- Improving joint function
Because it taps into the body’s natural healing system, it can take a few weeks to work about as much time as cells need to repair and regenerate. Patients can resume normal activities during that time, except for strenuous activities that reinjure the treatment area.
Several studies on animals suggest that PRP can improve healing in soft tissue and bone. It has improved tendon strength and increased cell regeneration in Achilles tendon injuries.
Who Qualifies for PRP Therapy?
We invite you to try platelet-rich plasma if you have been dealing with muscle or tendon injuries for a long time. It’s a quick and minimally invasive treatment that aids in pain management and helps you resume normal activities quicker.
However, we don’t recommend this treatment for patients with a history of blood disorders. Pregnant or nursing mothers, cancer patients, and people taking anti-coagulants are also not good candidates for PRP therapy.
Medical professionals use PRP therapy to treat a wide variety of conditions, including:
- Hair loss: A research study found that PRP injections effectively treat androgenic alopecia
- Acute injuries: PRP treats acute injuries like pulled hamstrings and knee sprains
- Osteoarthritis: When the protective cartilage around the bone decays, PRP injections help reduce the inflammation and pain
Get the Relief You Need at Rejuvenate Your Health
No one deserves to live a life of pain due to a tendon strain. At Rejuvenate Your Health, we can help you reclaim your life through PRP therapy and get back to doing the activities you love. We are dedicated to your recovery and well-being.
If you’re ready to start living free from a tendon sprain, contact us today to schedule a free consultation and get the relief you need.