This article summarizes a review article on this topic published in July 2016.
Lateral epicondylitis, otherwise known as tennis elbow, is a common condition which causes pain in the upper forearm of many Canadians. Tennis elbow is caused by overuse of extensor muscles of the forearm leading to degeneration of the associated tendons. Based on the scientific research which has been done it is suspected that tennis elbow is not actually an inflammatory condition but rather a degenerative condition. Tennis elbow pain is characterized by poor blood flow and tissue degeneration at the site of the common extensor tendon of the forearm.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) uses a concentrated sample of a person’s own blood to treat injuries and some painful conditions. PRP is collected by centrifuging a sample of a person’s blood and extracting the layer of plasma which is rich in platelets. This concentrated solution of platelet-rich plasma is injected at the site of concern and stimulates tissue repair and healing through its high concentration of growth factors which are naturally present in platelets.
In the case of tennis elbow the PRP is injected at the site of the common extensor tendon of the affected forearm. The research on PRP for tennis elbow has shown that PRP enhances healing of the common extensor tendon as well as decreases long term pain and disability.
The safety of PRP treatment is excellent as it uses simply a component of a person’s own blood.
For more information see this review article on the topic of PRP for tennis elbow.