Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Healing Shortcut

Following an injury, it is often hard having to sit out and wait to recover. This is when a new therapy has been called into play,  platelet-rich plasma (PRP) surgery. The therapy consists of placing athlete’s blood in a centrifuge and reinserting it in the wound. The end result is healed tissue. This therapy is often claims to speed up recovery.

However, studies published by the Journal of the American Medical Association have found that PRP was no better than a placebo injection of saline in treating Achilles tendinopathy. PRP has also been proven not to be effective in acute sport injuries. The reasoning for the lack of consistency is because there has yet to be an ideal formula.

One of the main controversies associated with this therapy is that the World Anti Doping Agency has judged that the process unfairly increases muscle strength. Not to forget the therapy does not come at a low cost. The $1000 price tag may put off athletes that can wait the few weeks for the injury to recover through other therapies and/or treatment.

This all leads to the question, is it all really worth it? There are alternatives to PRP, the most prominent being physical therapy. This is a much less painful and cheaper alternative. PRP should be a last resort, athletes should try all non surgical procedures before considering going under the needle.

Source from the SIRC Collection 
Reynolds, G. (2011). Heal Thyself. Outside, 36(8), 98-99.

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