The Golden State Warriors are putting their fate in the hands of platelet-rich plasma therapy.
The reigning NBA champs lost soon to be two-time league MVP Stephen Curry early in the first round of the playoffs, after the point guard sprained his right knee. Curry, who just returned from an ankle injury, slipped on a wet spot in Game 4 of the Warrior’s first round matchup against the Houston Rockets, causing his knee to twist awkwardly.
In hopes of expediting his return, Curry and the Warriors have turned to platelet-rich plasma therapy to get the NBA’s leading scorer back on the court. He received the injection therapy treatment on the second day of his recovery process from a Grade 1 MCL sprain.
Using a patient’s own blood, a blood sample is spun to concentrate the platelets from the rest of the blood. The platelet-rich portion of the blood is then injected back into the targeted injured area, in this case the knee, to accelerate healing. The process takes about 15 minutes, and increases concentration of platelets and growth factors by up to 500%.
It’s hard to find a better endorsement for PRP therapy than the face of the NBA, but the growing list of athletes turning to this new regenerative medicine is impressive Rafael Nadal, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Zack Greinke, Hines Ward, and Dwyane Wade, to name a few.
While high performance athletes are adopting this form of injection therapy, it can be helpful to anyone with chronic pain, particularly effective on knee injuries.
PRP Therapy Prevents Knee Arthritis from Worsening
PRP therapy can slow the progression of knee arthritis, and osteoarthritis, even preventing joint replacement surgery in severe cases.
The platelets extracted from the blood contain inflammatory and healing chemicals, and when injected back into the knee, creates a call-to-arms for other cells to rally to the point of injury.
The recruited cells and the chemicals released by the platelets diminish inflammation and stimulate healing.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, typically affecting joints in the hand, hip, spine, and knee. This form of knee arthritis is characterized by the protective cartilage on the ends of bones wearing down over time. The PRP therapy process slows the onset of cartilage degeneration, which reduces stiffness and chronic pain in the knee.
Sometimes knee arthritis can become so severe that knee joint replacement surgery may be needed. Platelet-rich plasma therapy can postpone, and in some cases completely prevent, the need for major knee surgery. In comparison to a radical change to your knee, PRP therapy is a regenerative medicine that’s relatively cheap, minimally invasive, and is a natural healing process that takes advantage of your cell’s own healing properties.
PlateletRich Plasma Therapy and Patellar Tendonitis, or ‘Jumper’s Knee’
PRP injections not only facilitates healing for knee arthritis, osteoarthritis, and knee sprains like Curry’s, but on tendons near the knee as well.
One of the more common knee injuries is patellar tendonitis, or ‘jumper’s knee’. It’s an injury to the tendon that connects your kneecap to your shinbone. The tendon works in unison with the muscle at the front of your thigh that extends the knee, called the quadricep, or ‘quad’, enabling you to kick, run, and jump (hence the name). While it’s most common in athletes sports like basketball, volleyball, or anything that requires explosive power, anyone can experience this form of chronic pain.
Often times with patellar tendonitis, patients may not respond to more conventional chronic pain treatments such as physiotherapy or antiinflammatory medications. PRP therapy offers an alternative to the rigors of surgery (if patellar tendonitis gets bad, the tendon can rupture) and the time lost in recovery thanks to the expedited healing process. Additionally, injection therapy improves the tendon tissue’s health, possibly safeguarding the knee tendon from similar injuries down the road.
Anyone that plays sports with a lot of jumping, runners, or even if you walk a lot, can develop patellar tendonitis. If rest, eccentric exercise, or other treatments are unresponsive, PRP therapy is almost sure to stimulate improvement, usually faster than without this treatment.
With the acceptance of PRP therapy by high performance athletes and their team doctors, by association it’s evident that this regenerative medicine can produce results.
The Warriors, Curry, and the collective NBA (besides the Trail Blazers) are injecting their belief of platelet-rich plasma therapy on that wonky knee. That’s quite the endorsement.
PRP Therapy can alleviate and heal a variety of chronic knee conditions. Knee arthritis, patellar tendonitis, and osteoarthritis can be treated, delaying or even preventing the need for joint replacement knee surgery in the future.