Many sports produce varying degrees of high-intensity stress on the elbow as the arm is used for throwing, catching, and swinging. The elbow has several different interconnected bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons which must work in a coordinated fashion to allow flexibility while providing stability.
There are many connections within the elbow that can be injured by specific events or may also wear out over time. Once injured, the elbow may hurt whenever you reach out, twist or grip objects. Injuries to the outer elbow is often called “tennis elbow”, while an injury to the inner elbow is called a “golfer’s elbow.” The tendons that attach at these areas to move the arm through space can become injured and tears can occur, which are often painful. If the structure is simply inflamed, which is called “tendinitis”, then steroid injections may be able to resolve the pain. Sometimes other structures cause the pain, including the joint capsule and the ligaments holding the joint together.
In many cases, when the condition is more degenerative in nature, there are tears and other significant structural injuries, and steroid injections will not resolve the pain permanently. Pain from an injured elbow tendon can improve with specific stretching techniques, use of a properly fitted elbow support, and changes to the exercise program. Sometimes the pain is associated with muscle imbalances in the spine, shoulder and throughout the arm, and these may need attention from an experienced physical therapist or chiropractor.
The most consistent, proven treatment for persistent elbow pain uses growth factor injections to stimulate healing of the damaged connective tissues via a process called Prolotherapy, which has been used for over 70 years to heal pain throughout the connective tissues of the body. An advanced form of this technique uses Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) or Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC), which inspire a growth and repair process to stimulate your body to heal the injury and create new, stronger, healthier connective tissue where you need it the most. These techniques use natural substances including your own blood cells and platelets to stimulate a natural healing response to get the injured tissues to heal and to work normally again. These techniques provide a permanent and healthy method to restore the damaged tissue back to its flexible, strong, stable structure, allowing the athlete to resume sports uninterrupted for the long term.
Studies comparing steroid injections versus regenerative techniques for elbow pain have consistently shown that the regenerative solutions work better and are more likely to result in permanent healing of the tissue and better resolution of the pain. Regenerative injections strengthen the weak and damaged tissue, while steroid injections have been known to cause softening of the tissues and occasionally have been known to cause a rupture of a damaged tendon.
If you or a loved one has a painful elbow, consider Regenerative Medicine techniques such as Prolotherapy, Platelet-Rich Plasma, or Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentration to stimulate a natural permanent healing response and repair the injured tendon and ligament connections.