Tendon injuries come in many different shapes and sizes. Damage to the muscles or tendons connected to your joints can cause stiffness and pain, and despite common naming schemes, is not exclusive to athletes by any measure. Ranging from inflammation to tears, the one thing these conditions have in common is being debilitative and slow to heal.
The relative longevity of tendon damage comes tied to the way your body naturally distributes reparative oxygen through blood vessels. The problem is that tendons don’t see, or generally require, a significant supply of blood vessels. When you compare their rate of cell production and repair to something like your skin, which is home to a multitude of blood vessels and therefore oxygen, it becomes clear why tendons take their sweet time repairing.
Historically, corticosteroid (anti-inflammatory medication) shots have been relied on to, if only temporarily, relieve pain. The problem with short-term remedies for significant muscle or tendon damage is that it doesn’t enhance repair, and may lead to a false sense of wellness that incurs further damage. At its core, naturopathic medicine has always sought to identify the root of an ailment as the starting point for an effective recovery regiment. In this case our starting point is a naturally slow distribution of blood vessels to our tendons, and the ideal solution is PRP injections at the site of injury.
ABI, or autologous blood injection, is another treatment for tendon damage one’s likely to encounter while considering the recovery route that best suits them. In short, autologous injections draw cells and tissues from a patient’s own blood and leverages them as a healing factor elsewhere on the body.
If you haven’t read up on PRP (platelet-rich plasma) across the Cornerstone site, the practice involve injecting a patient’s own platelet-rich plasma into sites of injury or repair. What we mean when we say platelet-rich is that a patient’s blood is first centrifuged to create an enhanced ratio of platelets in the blood before its used. These platelets encourage growth factors that assist with healing, and provide a much-needed infusion of oxygen and repair assistance to parts of the body that typically go without.
Though PRP injections are not an immediate remedy for acute pain, they are inherently a natural long-term solution for tennis elbow and tendon damage in general. When compared to anti-inflammatory treatments, research shows PRP is a superior treatment for lateral epicondylitits (tennis elbow). Consider referencing some of the many great research resources tied to PRP's effect on lateral epicondylitis, such as this comparison to conservative management, or this study on PRP as an effective alternative to corticosteroid. For more information on why we recommend PRP injections for tennis elbow, tendon injuries, and a range of other treatments, don’t hesitate to contact our clinic directly.