If PRP injections are used to treat professional athletes, could I benefit from them?
Are Platelet Rich Plasma injections effective for various soft tissue injuries and joint complaints or is it marketing hype with nothing to back it? As has been discussed on our website and at various places across the web, the use of PRP to treat musculoskeletal conditions has accelerated during the current decade. More and more studies are being designed, conducted, and published looking at the efficacy of PRP injections. Admittedly, there are many unknowns at this point. Data from high quality, randomized clinical trials using PRP is beginning to grow. Add to that many anecdotal or case reports, and the common theme is that PRP may be effective in the treatment of conditions such as tennis elbow, Achilles tendinitis, hamstring injuries, and other tendon disorders.
PRP has been used amongst professional athletes for many years with increasing frequency. Many of these players are paid millions of dollars to perform, often on a daily basis. Their ability to recover expeditiously from an injury is vital to their future and often to that of their team.
Using major league baseball as a good example, more than two-thirds of the season has now past and just within the last 6 weeks, a handful of starting players (some well-known), have been injured and treated with PRP. Here are the latest based on news reports:
Boston Red Sox pitcher, Clay Buckholz, was given a PRP injection several weeks ago for a strained flexor muscle in his right elbow. Based on published reports from earlier this week, his is supposed to be seeing orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, for evaluation and to be released back to throwing. This same type of injection was given to pitcher Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox. We was placed on the disabled list for nearly 5 weeks, but he been one of the best pitchers in baseball since his return.
Jesse Hahn, of the Oakland A’s, was shut down from pitching in mid-July for a forearm strain. He received at least one PRP injection. It is reported that he is still feeling stiffness with strengthening exercises. His time to return is unknown at present.
Pirates star pitcher, A.J. Burnett was placed on the disabled list last week for a flexor strain in his right elbow. It was expected that he would be out for four weeks. He was given a PRP injection to the elbow and based on reports is making faster than expected recovery. He has already began catching.
Dustin Pedroia, second baseman for the Boston Red Sox was also recently treated with PRP. He suffered a re-aggravation of a hamstring injury in late July. He is currently looking to return to the lineup in mid-August based on report.
Atlanta Braves first baseman, Freddie Freeman was put on the disabled list in late June with a right wrist contusion. He received a PRP injection to “help with the healing process.” The team leader in home runs returned to the lineup after 5 weeks, but unfortunately recently ended up on the 15 day disabled list with a right oblique strain.
This is just a highlight of how PRP is being used amongst professional baseball players with some of the observed results. Even for those of us who do not go to bat or are required to pitch on a daily basis, but do suffer from soft tissue injuries, PRP injection therapies are something that you will continue to hear more about and appear to be promising for certain musculoskeletal problems.