For athletes, sports injuries are never welcome news. Being sidelined by a sports injury is frustrating, yet you understand the risks of pushing yourself too hard too soon.
Dr. Moisés Irizarry-Román and our team at No Mercy Sports Medicine in Miami, Florida, spend a good deal of time helping patients through sports injuries of all kinds, from ligament tears to muscle strains. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for musculoskeletal injuries, treatments such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy can help get you back in the game more quickly.
For the love of the game
Sports injuries mostly fall into two categories — acute or repetitive use — but they all involve the same joints, bones, and soft tissues.
As you can imagine, most sports injuries occur in your major joints, such as your knees, shoulders, ankles, and elbows. From there, sports injuries take on many forms, but the most common include:
- Rotator cuff tears
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears
- Meniscus tears
- Achilles tendon tears
- Muscle tears
You notice that there’s one word that pops up frequently when it comes to sports injuries: tears. Whether it’s a large tear or inflammation due to microscopic tears, damage to the soft connective tissues in your major joints is all too common among athletes. This is an area where PRP therapy shines.
Platelets and their role in healing
To understand why PRP therapy works so well for sports injuries, let’s step back and take a look at the active ingredient in these injections: your platelets.
Platelets are cell fragments found in your blood, and they play a crucial role in your body’s ability to heal. When you’re injured, your platelets arrive on the scene and release growth factors (proteins) that initiate the wound healing cascade in your body, which occurs in four phases:
- Hemostasis — stopping the bleeding
- Inflammation — creating a healing environment and preventing infection
- Proliferation — starting to build new tissue
- Remodeling — strengthening the tissue
Given how important your platelets are in helping to conduct these healing events, it makes sense that they can help you heal from sports injuries as well.
Harnessing your platelets for healing
With PRP therapy, we draw a sample of your own blood and isolate your platelets using a special centrifuge. We mix this concentrate of platelets back into some of your plasma and then inject the mixture into your damaged tissues.
When the platelets arrive, they react to the damage and release the growth factors that kick off the wound healing cascade described above.
We’ve witnessed our own patient success stories using PRP therapy to help people heal from sports injuries, and we also can cite research that highlights the positive outcomes of PRP injections in sports injuries.
In one recent study, 48 athletes were given PRP injections after a sports injury. Researchers concluded that “PRP injection has optimal effects on sports injuries not responding to conservative management.”
If you’d like to explore how PRP injections can play a role in helping your sports injury so you can return to your active lifestyle more quickly and more soundly, please contact No Mercy Sports Medicine today. Call our office at 305-614-6757 or use our messaging form.