Do you enjoy playing golf or tennis? If you do, you’ve probably suffered from elbow pain at one time in your life. Up to 50% of these athletes do. The pain is either on the inside or outside of the elbow and usually worse with use of the flexor or extensor muscles. This means you will likely have pain with any use of the arm. If you are obese or if you smoke, you are predisposed to this condition. If you have experienced this pain, you were probably diagnosed with “epicondylitis” or “tendinitis”. Unfortunately, these terms are inaccurate. These terms imply that inflammation is present. Several studies have shown that inflammation is NOT present. In fact, these conditions are DEGENERATIVE in nature. They are a result of overuse, many small microtraumas to the tendons. We call this tendinosis or tendinopathy. You likely treated the pain with anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil, Aleve, Motrin, etc). This actually blunted the inflammatory process (your body’s natural healing process) and the tendons never properly healed. What you are left with is a chronic overuse injury with microtears within these tendons and chronic elbow pain.
You may be wondering how this chronic elbow pain is treated. Well, there are several options. A doctor may have tried medications, usually anti-inflammatories by prescription. These may provide temporary relief of symptoms, but will not heal the tendon. Or, a steroid injection may have been offered or tried. Again, a temporary solution to a chronic problem. Surgical intervention is also an option, but should be a last resort. Performance Spine & Sports Medicine offers the latest techniques for the treatment of chronic tendinopathy. Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, injections may offer relief of pain from chronic tendinopathy. This involves taking a sample of blood and separating the blood components with a state of the art procedure in order to concentrate the platelets. Platelets contain growth factors that stimulate your body’s healing mechanisms. These growth factors are extracted and subsequently injected into the damaged tendon under ultrasound for direct targeting. This directed care will stimulate your body to go into “healing mode”. This healing will take place over the subsequent 12 weeks. The procedure often results in tremendous improvement regardless of the duration of your symptoms. It may need to be repeated, but often results are quite good after just one treatment. You must limit your activities during the healing phase. But once healed, the results are permanent! For more information, read the detailed blog on PRP in our blog or call us for an appointment.
Dr. Wiederholz discusses PSSM’s non-surgical approach