At Brisbane Physiotherapy Practice, Body Leadership Australia, we believe in a multidisciplinary
approach to achieving the best outcomes for patients. Principal Physiotherapist, Paul
Trevethan, caught up with leading Sports Physician Matt Hislop (BSEMS) to talk about tackling
tendon injuries (tendinopathy) using a new approach called Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections.
Tendinopathies account for 20% of all musculoskeletal complaints. They are commonly mistaken for
inflammation of the area but studies tell us they are due to degeneration often associated with
overuse. Some of the most common areas affected include tennis elbow, golfers elbow, patellar
pain, Achilles pain, trochanteric bursitis and the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder.
In the past this type of tendon injury was treated with rest and anti-inflammatories and would
commonly linger for extended periods from months to years. Now these injuries are addressed
with an individualised exercise program structured to remodel and strengthen the tendon.
Because of the nature of tendons, primarily made of collagen with limited cells and often poor
blood supply, healing of these conditions can be 5-6 times slower than muscle. This has led
health professionals to explore ways to speed recovery back to sport and activities you enjoy.
PRP Injections are one way to do just that.
PRP Injections basically involve a sample of the patient's own blood being taken and separated.
The clear plasma is full of growth factors and other healing mediators. This is then injected into
the damaged area of the tendon to aid tissue regeneration. There have been a number of
preliminary studies and promising case reports on the use of PRP injections to aid and stimulate
healing of tendons. More thorough scientific research is currently underway and it will be
interesting to see if it backs up the positive reactions currently seen in clinical setting. Watch
It should be stressed that PRP Injections are not a miracle cure and should only be considered
in conjunction with an evidence based rehabilitation program including graded exercise to
increase strength and length.
Paul advises that it is important to be aware of the types of activities involved in your work
and play. If you are doing repetitive activities with arms or legs, think about starting a postural
strength and stretching program. Also start to learn specific strategies to release your own
tightness that can lead to these types of accumulative injuries. Always remember, especially
with tendon injuries, prevention is going to be better than the cure!
For more information on Plasma Rich Platelet Injections or to contact Dr Hislop follow the link.
To discuss treatment or prevention options for elite performance or repetitive tasks please
contact one of our Body Leadership physiotherapists on 07 3847 8040.