As an athlete, whether you’re a professional or not, you know there’s nothing worse than an injury taking you out of action for an extended period of time. Every missed practice, game, or event is a missed opportunity to improve your skill level. Athletes of all kinds experience great pressure to perform at the highest level, which is hard on the body and can lead to chronic pain and injury.
In recent years, an innovative new form of treatment is making great strides in treating many common sports injuries and soft tissue conditions. This treatment is known as PRP injections.
PRP stands for platelet rich plasma. Essentially, it’s a treatment that involves taking your own blood, separating/concentrating the platelet-rich plasma, and reinjecting it to the injured area. This allows the body to use its naturally occurring regenerative processes to heal itself. It also directs healing faster and more effectively than your body is able to do on its own.
Professional athletes are prone to joint, ligament, and tendon injuries because of the repetitive motions they perform for practice and games/events. PRP is especially promising for these athletes in particular because it can be administered easily and yields positive results quickly.
It can treat one-time serious injuries, but more importantly, it has been extremely beneficial in treating chronic injuries. These injuries would've otherwise caused early retirement in athletes. There’s PRP for back pain, PRP for tendonitis, but some of the most common injuries it treats is tennis elbow, golfers elbow, plantar fasciitis, and rotator cuff injuries.
So how long does it take for PRP to work? How long does PRP last? PRP results can become noticeable to patients in four to six weeks, but they can last for months. The cost for PRP injection can range from $500 to $2000 per injection, which isn’t a bad price to pay for getting you back in action, especially if you don’t require them often.
One of the biggest benefits of PRP injections is that it often is able to replace surgery. Any time you can avoid an invasive and potentially risky procedure is a huge plus.
The process is quick and easy, usually done in under an hour (including preparation and recovery time). You’re probably wondering, do PRP injections hurt? Lidocaine anesthetizes the injured area, so the actual injection should only be slightly uncomfortable. It’s certainly much less painful all around than the alternative surgical procedure.
PRP doesn’t actually improve performance, rather it gets you back in action sooner. Shorter periods between being injured and being back at 100%, however, will allow the athlete to practice and perform more than the injury originally would have allowed.
People use PRP for non-injury purposes as well. There are many cosmetic treatments that involve PRP, like microneedling, which uses the same blood drawing process but for skin rather than injury.
Microneedling with PRP stimulates collagen production, which is what keeps skin looking young. It can help treat sun damage, acne scars, and even hyperpigmentation. Additionally, it stimulates hair growth in those balding. PRP microneedling is also known as the ‘vampire facial’ because of the blood required to treat it. This is a pricey cosmetic treatment, costing anywhere from $500-$1300 per treatment.