You’re an athlete and have sustained a soft tissue injury. Your immediate concern may be how long you’ll be out of commission. You want to know when you can get back in the game.
Your board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Michael Shults, at Coastal Empire Orthopedics, is a trained sports medicine physician. He understands your needs as an athlete. If there’s a way to speed your healing, you want to find that approach. That’s why Dr. Shults has researched and now uses regenerative medicine techniques in our practice.
How does regenerative medicine help heal a sports injury?
Forward leaning and learning orthopedic practices now take advantage of the many benefits that regenerative medicine offers. In the past, surgical intervention was the only option when conservative treatments hadn’t worked. Now it may be possible to avoid surgery in some cases through forms of regenerative medicine, including platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapy. How does this work?
Your body contains the keys to healing itself. It contains stem cells that can reproduce and transform into a particular type of cell your body needs to help heal an injury.
For example, stem cells taken from one part of your body can turn into specific types of cells — tendon, muscle, or ligament cells — to help heal the soft tissue. The fresh new cells help hasten the healing of your damaged tissue by flooding the injury with healthy cells.
Depending on the type of therapy, we take stem cells from fatty tissue in your abdomen or thigh or from the bone marrow in your pelvic area. We also use platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy which uses a mixture of your own blood to rush healing nutrients to the site of your injury.
Three sports injuries that regenerative medicine can help treat
Following are just three sports injuries that we can treat with regenerative medicine to help speed healing.
Do you have painful tendonitis? Perhaps it’s tennis or golfer's elbow. Your arm may be so sore that brushing your teeth is difficult. You’ve overused the tendons that connect your forearm muscles to your elbow. They’ve become very inflamed. You may have microscopic tears in the affected tendons.
Any sport that uses repetitive movements of your arm can predispose you to tennis or golfer’s elbow tendonitis: bowling, baseball, softball, racquetball, golf, and tennis, among others. Other sports place athletes at increased risk for tendonitis elsewhere in the body: think Achilles tendonitis and patellar tendonitis in runners and basketball players.
We may recommend platelet-rich plasma (PRP) as an adjunct to physical therapy and other treatments we prescribe for your tendonitis. Research supports the use of PRP to help heal tendons. It reduces inflammation and increases healthy cell proliferation which speeds healing. Some studies show a better six-month outcome with PRP than with steroid injections.
Soft tissue sprains
Research shows that PRP helps reduce acute and chronic pain in sprains. Together with other therapeutic methods such as physical therapy, PRP can hasten recovery by days to weeks. It can also provide relief from chronic pain resulting from an injury.
Soft tissue strains
Literature reviews provide evidence that PRP can help heal muscle strains. Specifically, they provide evidence showing more rapid healing and reduced swelling, lessening the amount of time you spend out of the game.
Steroids have been used routinely to help calm inflammation in soft tissue injuries. However, they can weaken soft tissue if used too often. Plus, they’re not a material already contained in your body like PRP therapy.
Call Coastal Empire Orthopedics or book an appointment online for expert sports medicine orthopedic care.