Followers of professional sports may encounter platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy as a cutting-edge treatment that pro athletes turn to when they need fast recovery before the next game. PRP is drug-free and autologous, meaning it’s derived from your own tissue, so there’s no worry about compatibility.
As PRP and sports medicine specialists, the team at Joint Regeneration in Athens and Watkinsville, Georgia, can help you, no matter what level of sports participation you enjoy. For those who are new to the world of PRP and regenerative medicine, we’ve prepared a primer explaining how PRP can help a sports injury.
What is PRP?
You likely know that platelets are the component of your blood responsible for forming clots when you have a cut or scrape. While that’s a crucial role, it’s not the only job platelets have. They also carry growth factor hormones, key chemical messengers in your body that help to coordinate natural healing.
Making PRP is a straightforward process. We start with a small sample of your blood, about the same amount as when you have a routine blood test. Running your sample through a centrifuge separates your blood into distinct layers sorted by density. Heavy red blood cells settle to the bottom while plasma comes to the surface, since it’s basically salty water.
Platelets settle in the middle. We draw these off and mix them with a bit of plasma for injectability. That’s it, your own PRP serum is ready.
How PRP helps sports injuries
Research into PRP isn’t yet well developed, so the process isn’t fully understood. It is known that the process is safe and carries very little risk while the potential benefits can be enormous.
The raw materials for natural healing arrive at the site of an injury through your blood. The supply of those raw materials is therefore limited by the volume of blood passing through the surrounding area.
With its excess of growth factor hormones, a PRP injection delivers a powerful punch to the area of your sports injury. In particular, soft tissue benefits from PRP injections. As well as platelets, the injection delivers an anti-inflammatory effect. Less swelling often leads to reduced pain. Cartilage, ligaments, and tendons aren’t well-supplied with blood naturally, so these tissues in particular benefit from the healing effects of PRP.
Not only can PRP help you recover from sports performance, it tends to speed healing from repetitive motion injuries like golfers or tennis elbow. Rotator cuff injuries in the shoulder benefit from PRP, given the importance of healthy ligament and tendon tissue in the stability of the joint.
When osteoarthritis and other forms of degenerative joint disease affect your ability to compete, you can also look to PRP as a treatment to get you back in the game.
Contact Joint Regeneration to learn more about how PRP therapy can help you deal with sports injuries as well as its many other benefits. Call or use the online booking tool to schedule your visit today.