PRP for Golfer’s Elbow: An Effective Path Towards Recovery

March 29, 2024


Elbow epicondylitis, commonly known as Golfer’s Elbow, presents a significant challenge for many individuals, especially those partaking in sports or activities that involve vigorous gripping or repetitive wrist movements [1]. The emergence of platelet-rich plasma therapy for elbow pain has offered new hope for managing and mitigating golfer’s elbow pain effectively. This treatment method, focusing on the body’s natural healing mechanisms, stands out for its potential in treating golfer’s elbow without overstating its capabilities or labeling it a panacea.

Given these insights, this article aims to explore how PRP for golfer’s elbow serves as an effective path to recovery. Emphasizing the realistically beneficial aspects of platelet-rich plasma therapy for elbow pain, it will steer clear of exaggerated claims, providing a grounded perspective on its efficacy. In doing so, the article will delve into the basics of the therapy, the specific procedure tailored for golfer’s elbow, and the tangible benefits this treatment offers, presenting a thorough overview for those seeking relief from golfer’s elbow pain.

Understanding Golfer’s Elbow

Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is a condition not limited to golfers but also affects tennis players and individuals involved in activities requiring repetitive wrist or finger use. It manifests as pain on the inner side of the elbow, potentially spreading to the forearm and wrist, and is characterized by tenderness, stiffness, weakness in the hands and wrists, along with possible numbness or tingling in the fingers [3]. The underlying cause is often excessive stress or improper motions during physical activities, contributing to the condition’s development [3].

Key Risk Factors:

  • Age 40 or above
  • Engaging in repetitive activities for two or more hours daily
  • Obesity
  • Smoking habits [3]

Preventative Measures:

  1. Strengthen forearm muscles
  2. Stretch before activities
  3. Correct form and technique
  4. Use appropriate equipment
  5. Proper lifting methods
  6. Adequate rest periods [3]

The condition arises from overusing forearm muscles, leading to small tears or pulls in the tendons, further exacerbated by repetitive flexing, gripping, or swinging actions. Notably, improper technique during sports or occupational activities significantly increases the risk of developing golfer’s elbow [6][7].

The Basics of PRP Therapy

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy Basics:

  1. PRP Composition and Preparation:
    • PRP is derived from the patient’s own blood, ensuring compatibility and minimizing risks [10].
    • The process involves drawing blood, adding an anticoagulant, and then separating platelets through differential centrifugation [10].
    • There are two primary methods of PRP preparation: the PRP method and the buffy-coat method, tailored to the specific needs of the treatment [10].
  2. Mechanism of Action:
    • PRP injections are rich in platelets, crucial for tissue healing, remodeling, and pain control [9].
    • The therapy leverages an intricate three-phase process: inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling, to facilitate tissue repair [11].
    • Growth factors within PRP play a pivotal role in hemostasis and tissue healing, enhancing the recovery process [10].
  3. Comparative Effectiveness and Safety:
    • Studies have shown PRP’s effectiveness in improving pain and function to be similar to that of surgical interventions for conditions like lateral epicondylitis [9].
    • Unlike cortisone injections, which can have adverse effects on tendons, PRP therapy is preferred for its safety and efficacy [9].
    • PRP therapy is considered minimally invasive, with a quick recovery time and minimal risk of complications, making it a viable option for treating golfer’s elbow [14][15].

The Procedure of PRP Therapy for Golfer’s Elbow

PRP for golfer’s elbow involves a detailed procedure designed to stimulate healing and tissue regeneration within the affected tendon. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown:

  1. Blood Collection and Preparation:
    • Initially, a small vial of blood, approximately 30 to 60 milliliters, is drawn from the patient [17][11].
    • This blood is then placed in a centrifuge that spins at high speed to separate the blood components based on their density [17][11].
    • After centrifugation, the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is carefully extracted for use in the treatment [17][11].
  2. Injection Process:
    • The concentrated PRP is then mixed with a calcium or thrombin solution to activate the platelets [11].
    • Utilizing ultrasound guidance, the PRP solution is precisely injected into the damaged area of the tendon, ensuring accurate placement [9][17].
    • This process may be repeated 1-3 times, with each session spaced 4-6 weeks apart, depending on the patient’s response to the treatment and the severity of the condition [17].
  3. Post-Procedure Care and Follow-up:
    • Patients might experience immediate numbness due to the local anesthetic, followed by soreness at the injection site for 24-48 hours [19].
    • Normal activities, including driving and work, can usually be resumed the following day, contingent on the patient’s comfort level [19].
    • A follow-up appointment is typically scheduled three weeks post-procedure to assess progress and determine if additional exercises or treatments are necessary [19].

This methodical approach leverages the body’s innate healing capabilities, offering a targeted and effective option for managing golfer’s elbow pain without overstating its impact [12][17][19].

Benefits and Effectiveness of PRP Therapy

PRP therapy for golfer’s elbow taps into the body’s inherent healing mechanisms, offering a series of benefits that address both pain and the underlying causes of tissue damage:

  • Speeds Up Healing: PRP injections have shown to accelerate the healing process for injuries like golfer’s elbow, by promoting tissue repair and regeneration. This is crucial for athletes and individuals seeking a quick return to their activities [13][16].
  • Minimal Side Effects: Unlike more invasive procedures, PRP therapy typically results in few major side effects. Patients might experience some soreness and bruising at the injection site, but these are generally mild and temporary [20].
  • Cost and Insurance Considerations: The cost for PRP therapy sessions can range from $250 to $1,500, and the necessity for multiple sessions varies by individual. It’s important for patients to consult their insurance providers, as coverage for PRP therapy can differ [20].

Additionally, PRP therapy provides a non-surgical alternative that not only aids in reducing pain and inflammation in conditions like golfer’s elbow but also promotes cartilage repair and slows disease progression in arthritic joints [13]. This approach supports the body’s natural healing processes, offering long-term relief and a reduction in the need for ongoing medication or repeat interventions [13][15].


Q: Can PRP therapy accelerate the healing process?
A: Yes, PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) therapy is designed to speed up the body’s natural healing mechanisms by delivering concentrated healing factors to areas that may not typically receive such intensive healing support.

Q: What is the typical recovery timeline after a PRP injection for golfer’s elbow?
A: Recovery from a PRP injection for golfer’s elbow can vary. Some individuals may experience increased pain initially. The body’s response to the treatment can generally be assessed after 6-8 weeks. Full recovery might take anywhere from 3-6 months, with tendon injuries often requiring more time to heal completely.

Q: How effective are PRP injections in treating golfer’s elbow?
A: PRP injections have been found to be quite effective in treating golfer’s elbow. A study indicated that PRP injections yielded better results than steroid injections, with a success rate of 73% based on improvements in pain and function scores at a 1-year follow-up.

Q: How long does it typically take for PRP to improve tendon conditions?
A: The initial benefits of PRP injections for tendon conditions may be noticeable after about four to six weeks. However, the healing effects of the platelet-rich plasma can continue to contribute to tissue repair for a period of six to nine months following the treatment.


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To learn more about the efficacy of PRP for golfer’s elbow, contact the team at Integrative Spine & Sports by filling out the form below.

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