Tennis players are notoriously plagued with injuries to their joints, mainly in knees and upper arms. Such injuries usually are the result of a tear in a tendon or in the meniscus of the knee where they set off inflammations, stiffness, swelling and pain. Joint injuries are very debilitating and do not heal without treatment. The classical therapy is micro surgery to remove the tear in the meniscus, respectively to reattach the torn rotator cuff tendons to the bone. Both procedures require many month of rehabilitation.
An effective therapy which facilitates the repair of cartiledge and deals with the painful bone to bone contact, is the use of plasma enriched platelets (PRP). Platelets (thrombocytes) are small vesicles found in huge numbers in human blood where they function in blood clotting and tissue repair after injury. Since joints do not have a blood supply, platelet function is absent and the painful bone to bone contact continues more or less unabated. When injected into the injured joint, platelets exhibit their inborn functions and release a whole range of growth factors which promote collagen synthesis and cartiledge repair. There are no immunological complications as use of platelets is autologous ie taken from the patients own blood. Platelets obtained by centrifugation of a blood sample are injected into the joint immediately after isolation. The procedure is repeated in intervals of 2 weeks. Rehabilitation is by gentle exercise eg pedalling or swimming. The success rate at the Newlands Orthopaedic Clinic has been found to be close to 70 % and is in agreement with published USA data. Treatment of meniscus injuries in both of my knees 4 years apart were 100 % successful. In fact bone loss in one injury definitely demanded knee joint replacement which has been successfully avoided. PRP is now state of the art medicine and has taken a firm position in the treatment of knee injuries.
Lothar Bohm, PTC