Originally Posted by thunderkyss
Yeah, & what kind of injections are they talking about?
Since these are all supposedly ligament injuries, I am sure they are speaking of Platelet-Rich Plasma injections (PRP). Although blood is mainly a liquid (called plasma), it also contains small solid components (red cells, white cells, and platelets.) The platelets are best known for their importance in clotting blood. However, platelets also contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors which are very important in the healing of injuries.
PRP is plasma with many more platelets than what is typically found in blood. The concentration of platelets — and, thereby, the concentration of growth factors — can be 5 to 10 times greater (or richer) than usual.
To develop a PRP preparation, blood must first be drawn from a patient. The platelets are separated from other blood cells and their concentration is increased through centrifugation. Then the increased concentration of platelets is combined with the remaining blood for injection.
Much of the publicity PRP therapy has received has been about the treatment of acute sports injuries, such as ligament and muscle injuries
. PRP has been used to treat professional athletes with common sports injuries like pulled hamstring muscles in the thigh and knee sprains. There is no definitive scientific evidence, however, that PRP therapy actually improves the healing process in these types of injuries.
The exception seems to be in cases of chronic tendonitis. For example, in elbow tendonitis, a condition commonly seen in tennis players, the tendon can become swollen, inflamed, and painful. A mixture of PRP and local anesthetic can be injected directly into this inflamed tissue. As I've posted before, pain in a ligament injury site will classically increase NOT DECREASE through the 48 hour to 1 week postinjury period. After PRP injections, the pain at the area of injections will classically increase even more for the first week or two
, and it may be several weeks before the patient begins to feel a beneficial effect.
Currently, however, the research studies to back up the claims in the media are totally lacking. Although PRP does appear to be effective in the treatment of specifically chronic tendon injuries about the elbow (example above), there needs to be much more scientific evidence before it can be determined whether PRP therapy is truly effective in any other conditions.