Elbow Pain and Injuries

Atlanta Stem Cell Therapies

Regenerative Treatments for Elbow Pain

Epicondylitis is the most common health issue affecting the elbow joint, with around 1-3% of adults experiencing the condition. Commonly known as tennis elbow, epicondylitis affects half of all tennis players at some point and is most often caused by overloading the extensor carpi radialis brevis.

Typical treatment for tennis elbow consists of rest and immobilization, physiotherapy, cortisone injections, and the use of platelet-rich plasma injections, a type of regenerative medicine. Applying such treatments can help to avoid the need for surgical intervention, unless dysfunction and elbow pain persist.

Regenerative treatments for elbow pain related to tennis elbow or other issues work by encouraging the growth of healthy cartilage, bone, and connective tissues. This helps to relieve pain and restore mobility, strength, and range of motion.

In some cases, regenerative treatments may be used alongside surgical techniques to support recovery by reducing the formation of fibrous scar tissue. Injections with platelet rich plasma are standard non-surgical treatment for epicondylitis, and bone marrow concentrate injections may also be used to promote natural healing processes.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) found in bone marrow stimulate the activity of chondrocytes, specialized cells in the joints that promote cartilage regeneration by increasing the production of proteoglycans and type II collagen in elbow tissue. MSCs may also help in the case of damaged nerve tissue and tendons in the joint.

Regenerative therapies based on stem cell injections offer a number of advantages. For example, such therapies:

  • Are non-invasive – posing little risk of infection or other complications
  • Require very little downtime – excellent for athletes who need to continue training
  • Use a patient’s own stem cells – no issues with tissue rejection
  • Actively work to promote healthy tissue growth – rather than just masking symptoms.

Regenerative treatments can help patients return to their normal activities quickly and can be significantly more effective long-term compared to treatments that simply address immediate symptoms such as pain.

Non-surgical regenerative treatments for tennis elbow and other conditions, such as osteoarthritis in the elbow, are usually performed as outpatient procedures. These procedures may make use of injections with:

  • Bone marrow concentrate
  • Platelet-rich plasma.

Bone marrow concentrate

Bone marrow concentrate is created by centrifuging fluid drawn from a patient’s bone marrow in order to separate out the mesenchymal stem cells. These stem cells go on to create cells that make up the bones, cartilage, tendons, and other tissues in the elbow.

Bone marrow concentrate injections are considered safe and effective for orthopedic conditions such as tennis elbow and have a low rate of adverse effects compared to other treatments. When combined with arthroscopic debridement to removed damaged tissue, bone marrow aspirate and bone marrow concentrate injections have been seen to help people return more quickly to daily activities and have greater improvement of symptoms such as elbow pain.

BMC Injections can help counteract age-related decreases in stem cell concentrations that can adversely affect joint health. They may also help to restore or preserve joint motion, strength, and stability to support athletic performance.

Read on for more about bone marrow concentrate.

Platelet rich plasma (PRP)

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a rich source of numerous growth factors involved in the development of health joint tissue. PRP injections have become part of standard treatment for tennis elbow.

PRP is derived from a patient’s own blood, which is centrifuged (spun very fast) to separate out plasma and stem cells.

PRP’s plethora of growth factors help to counteract undesirable biologic activity that may be at play in elbow pain. PRP can also help

As epicondylitis is thought to be largely connected to tendon degeneration, PRP is considered especially useful for relieving symptoms while facilitating the repair of tendons. Clinical research shows that PRP can enhance cell proliferation and differentiation into active tenocytes in addition to promoting angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels to feed healthy tissue), collagen synthesis, and tissue remodeling.

Studies have found that compared to corticosteroid injections, PRP injections lead to greater pain relief and functional improvement in epicondylitis.

Read on for more about platelet rich plasma.