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Platelet Shot Appears Helpful for Tennis Elbow

Imagine it—a quick and easy shot of your own blood to treat chronic severe tennis elbow.  Researchers have shown that it can work, even for people who did not have success with more traditional treatments. Platelets, a type of blood cell, speed up the healing process for damaged tendons, while recruiting other cells to help with repair. The platelet injection treatment appears to be safe, simple, and takes less than one hour.

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis or tendonitis) is a common problem for tennis players or most anyone who performs repetitive gripping and wrist motions.  The problem occurs when a tendon at the elbow degenerates, making the area quite painful.  In the past, people with tennis elbow were treated with rest, therapy, cortisone injections, or surgery.
 
In a pilot study conducted at Stanford University, researchers first drew blood from the unaffected arm of  study participants.  The blood components were separated in the doctor’s lab.  Next, the platelets and plasma were injected into the affected tendon of the same participants.  Following the injection with their own blood, subjects performed elbow exercises.
 
Four weeks after receiving the platelet injection, 46% of the participants reported feeling better.  After eight weeks, 60 percent reported improvements in their symptoms.  Two years later, 93% of the participants reported that they felt good, and many had returned to work and playing sports.  Larger studies need to be completed before the treatment is widely recommended, but so far, it appears to be a simple promising solution for tennis elbow!

 

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.