What is Epicondylitis?
Lateral epicondylitis, also known as tennis elbow, is a painful condition that occurs when tendons in your elbow are overloaded, usually by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm.
Despite its name, athletes aren’t the only people who develop tennis elbow. People whose jobs feature the types of motions that can lead to tennis elbow include plumbers, painters, carpenters, and butchers.
Pain typically occurs primarily where tendons of the forearm muscles attach to a bony bump on the outside of your elbow.
Using Regenerative Medicine to Heal Tissues
Recovery from injuries to the musculoskeletal system is complex, and it depends on many factors. At the cellular level, the regeneration process depends to a large extent on growth factors that are stored in platelets’ granules and secreted at the site of injury.
Studies on the biological potential of platelets have led to the development of techniques for the preparation of platelet-rich concentrates. Autologous preparations of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) are widely used in the treatment of complex and difficult to heal complications in musculoskeletal conditions, such as epicondylitis.
Clinical Trials Using PRP
In a review study published in the journal Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers review a total of 26 studies that evaluated the use of PRP for the treatment of lateral epicondylitis.
The studies used patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) such as the visual analog scale (VAS) for pain, Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH), Patient-Rated Tennis Elbow Evaluation (PRTEE), and Mayo Clinic Performance Index.
In each of the studies, the VAS score was decreased (improved) after PRP therapy. The best effects were observed between weeks 8 and 52 after the PRP injection.
Based on the studies included, treatment of lateral epicondylitis with PRP is a relatively inexpensive and safe method with a low recurrence rate. The procedure does not require hospitalization and is effective.
Niemiec P, Szyluk K, Jarosz A, Iwanicki T, Balcerzyk A. Effectiveness of Platelet-Rich Plasma for Lateral Epicondylitis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Based on Achievement of Minimal Clinically Important Difference. Orthop J Sports Med. 2022 Apr 8;10(4):23259671221086920. doi: 10.1177/23259671221086920. PMID: 35425843; PMCID: PMC9003647.