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Athletes Discover New Way To Fix Ligament Tear

Athletes and Elbow Injuries

The throwing motions associated in sports such as baseball and football actually can greatly injure the elbow. With repetitive throwing, micro trauma occurs to the elbow possibly causing a partial or complete tear.

A common ligament that is partially or completely torn during the throwing motion is the Ulnar Collateral Ligament. The cocking and acceleration of the throwing movement is very stressful on the shoulder and the elbow causing the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) to be under tremendous torque and stress.

There has been a significant rise in injuries regarding the UCL, especially in the younger population, in relation to throwing sports.

Conventional Treatment

In the past, there have been no great treatments. Athletes would either have to undergo surgery or quit the sport altogether. Even on the professional side, UCL reconstruction surgery takes at least 12 to 18 months of recovery time. This puts the players out for the season and sometimes out for good. Even with surgery, less than half of these patients returned to play.

Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment Is A Viable Option For A UCL Partial Tear

Recently, regenerative medicine has been making waves in the medical community as an alternative to surgery for many injuries and conditions. Dr. Luga Podesta led a study that tested how well Platelet Rich Plasma treatment can help a partial UCL tear.

In the study, there were 34 athletes with a partial UCL tear who received one PRP injection. The UCL injury was diagnosed by MRI, dynamic ultrasound, and a physical examination. The injection was administered by the same doctor at the same institution.

All patients had failed at least two months of conservative treatment including ice, rest, and physical therapy. All patients also had a failed attempt at returning to play their sport.

Out of the 34 participants, 28 were male, and 6 were female. Most were either high school or collegiate athletes and the average age was 19. The average amount of throwing years was 10. The sports of these athletes included baseball, softball, volleyball, and tennis.   Each patient underwent a single PRP injection of the UCL under ultrasound guidance.

Results

30 of the 34 athletes (88%) returned to play without any complaints. The average return to play was 12 weeks (range 10-15 weeks).

What this acknowledges is that a PRP treatment for a UCL partial tear has favorable results and is a viable and safe alternative to surgery. PRP treated patients returned to play sooner and without the prolonged rehabilitation associated with surgery. This is not to say that rehabilitation is not needed after the injection as this is an important part of the recovery process. For more information call us today at (201) 298-0864

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