Researchers in Los Angeles have found that treating patients with platelet rich plasma (PRP) may help pitchers and other athletes suffering from elbow injuries return to the game quickly. Their findings were reported at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s Specialty Meeting in San Francisco.
Lead researcher Scott A. Crow, MD, indicated that PRP may be an effective option to successfully treat partial ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tears in the elbow of athletes. Crow adds that there are still a number of questions that need to be answered, including optimal concentration, number, and timing of injections, as well as the role of ultrasound or image guidance when performing these injections.
For the study, 17 athletes with a partial UCL tear who had failed conservative treatment including rest and physical therapy were followed. The researchers gave each patient a single PRP injection at the UCL under ultrasound guidance. Results showed that during a follow-up occurring an average of 18 weeks after the injection, 16 of the athletes had returned to play with decreased pain scores.
“There is little information in the literature regarding non-surgical treatment of UCL tears,” Crow says. “Our results show that PRP may be an option to return players to the field without having to place them under the knife”.