In the course of treating certain tendon conditions that affect the hands, tendon injections can be quite effective. Usually, we use cortisone injections to help reduce inflammation and ease conditions like arthritis and tendonitis. Sometimes, however, we take a more novel approach to these conditions by using a new technique known as PRP, or platelet rich plasma, injections.
Platelet rich plasma takes advantage of your body’s own natural healing response to treat chronic conditions like tendonitis. The inflammation and pain that typically accompanies tendonitis are caused by micro-tears in the tendon tissue. Overuse and strain over time lead to the development of these tears, which can form scar tissue and eventually lead to a more serious condition known as tendinosis. When the body is unable to heal these micro-tears on its own, the introduction of platelet rich plasma can jumpstart the process.
First, some of your own blood is drawn. Then, it’s placed in a centrifuge and spun down to isolate the platelet rich plasma portion of the blood. Your platelets are a rich source of numerous growth factors responsible for healing throughout your body. Remember, your platelets are the portion of your blood responsible for forming healing scabs when you get a cut or scrape.
PRP contains numerous natural growth factors that stimulate your body’s natural healing ability. Some compounds found in PRP include platelet-derived growth factor, transforming growth factor beta, fibroblast growth factor, and several other cytokines and growth factors. When the PRP is injected into the damaged tendon, the added growth factors stimulate your body to clear away scar tissue and begin healing. As this treatment continues to be used on professional athletes for various sports injuries, its effectiveness will be further illuminated. But for now, PRP therapy has been shown to be quite effective for the treatment of many common tendon injuries.