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

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