Home » The Role of PRP Treatment in Sports Medicine: Healing Knee Injuries in Athletes

The Role of PRP Treatment in Sports Medicine: Healing Knee Injuries in Athletes

by M Asim

The bodies of athletes are their investment. However, their bodies are frequently under performance stress, leading to various injuries. Individuals select a medical procedure to treat injuries and deal with pain. However, in recent years, PRP treatment for knee pain has emerged due to modern medicine and has been the focus of research and treatment.

Competitors like Tiger Woods and Rafael Nadal have utilized PRP to mend wounds and get them back out in the game. PRP treatment has proven to be very effective for all of these athletes. It has permitted them to recuperate from their wounds and return to playing the games they love.

Though PRP treatment is not covered by insurance, it is building up traction in treating sports wounds. Let’s discuss the reasons why athletes choose PRP treatment for knee pain and how it helps them return to peak performance.

Knee-related Sports Injuries

Sports injuries can affect any part of the body such as bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons. These injuries are usually caused due to structural abnormalities, poor training methods, improper exercising, and weakness in bones, tendons, muscles, or ligaments.

However, the risk factors of sports injuries include uneven leg length, repeated knee injuries, and inward rolling of the foot once the heel hits the ground but before the shift of the weight towards the ball portion of the foot. This specific act puts uneven stress on the leg muscles and ligaments.

The common knee-related sports injuries include:

  • Runner’s knee/Patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • Cartilage damage
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear
  • Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) tear
  • Meniscus tear
  • Patellar tendinosis
  • Knee bursitis
  • Knee tendonitis
  • Broken leg

Symptoms of sports injuries include pain, bruises, swelling, tenderness, weak range of motion, bleeding, numbness, and popping or snapping sounds around the affected body part.

Whether you are a national level player, a school or college team player, or simply enjoying the regular round of games in your local area, sports injuries can seriously damage your extremities if left untreated. Hence, knee pain treatment should aim at improving the function of affected body parts by controlling the symptoms and preventing further damage.

What are the Available Conventional Knee Pain Treatment Methods?

Traditional treatment of sports injuries includes the application of the PRICE principle [Protection, Rest, Ice therapy, Compression, Elevation], physical therapy, NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), and corticosteroid therapy.

Protection and Rest promote healing by reducing further stress or strain. Ice therapies reduce bleeding and pain by working as a counterirritant. Compression and Elevation control swelling of the affected part.

Physical therapy, including strengthening and stretching exercises, aims at reducing pain and improving range of motion. However, it offers only temporary relief from symptoms.

NSAIDs control pain and inflammation if administered for a brief period. However, their long-term administration has significant side effects such as gastrointestinal perforation, abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting, renal insufficiency, hypertension, and congestive heart failure.

Corticosteroid injections are used to treat sports injuries due to their anti-inflammatory effect. Again, its long-term administration may lead to diabetes mellitus, hyperglucocorticoidism, anaphylaxis, facial flushing, and cutaneous atrophy. Though steroid treatment provided short-term benefits, these patients reported a higher recurrence of symptoms after one year.

Your physician may recommend surgery (arthroscopy/affected part replacement) if the symptoms are worsening over time and the non-surgical methods do not yield any improvement. But surgery is only considered as the last resort since it requires a prolonged duration of rehabilitation post-surgery to regain strength and flexibility.

Why Should You Choose PRP Treatment for Knee Pain Over Conventional Knee Pain Treatment Methods?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment is a minimally invasive procedure that provides permanent relief from the symptoms with minimal downtime. Unlike other conventional treatment methods, PRP treatment addresses the root cause of knee ailments. Your body can heal naturally by not only examining the signs of damage but also repairing them using its own healing mechanism. This knee pain treatment has no side effects since the injection involves your blood/body cells. So, there is no possibility of rejection or allergy problems.

The benefits of PRP treatment for knee pain include:

  • Safe and effective minimally invasive solution
  • Same-day outpatient procedure
  • No lengthy hospital readmissions
  • No risk of rejection
  • Does not involve general anaesthesia
  • Reduction in pain and inflammation
  • Restore normal function after undergoing PRP treatment
  • Increase the range of movement
  • No adverse side effects
  • Quick recovery time
  • Can significantly delay or avoid the possibility of surgery
  • Improvement in quality of life
  • Cease disease progression
  • No extensive workup required
  • Comparatively less expensive

PRP treatment showed significantly improved healing with a reduction in symptoms for other sports injuries such as tennis elbow, ACL tear, meniscus tear, and rotator cuff tear within a short duration.

Noback et al., 2021 in their survey study concluded that PRP treatment is used for reasons especially competitor utilization other than clinical efficacy. Hence, it is likely to increase in popularity among sports medicine physicians.

You will have your first follow-up visit six weeks after undergoing this therapy. You will be undergoing review sessions for up to 6 months to assess your progress following this therapy.

Patients could observe the signs of improvement like reduction in pain or improvement in function within 1-2 months.

To check whether you require repetitive PRP treatment for knee pain, wait for 3-6 months.

Final Thoughts

PRP injection is a treatment that top athletes use to get back into the game. PRP treatment isn’t only for top-quality expert competitors. This treatment for sports injuries that will occur in the future is beneficial to weekend warriors and recreational athletes. 

So no more slow healing hereafter! Get back on your feet effectively without any delay. After all, nothing proves to be a success better than a sportsman coming back to play effortlessly at the earliest.

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