Soft tissue injuries in muscles, tendons and ligaments, and osteoarthritis, can make moving around painful and limit your physical activity. But Dr. James Presley, a Mayo Clinic physical medicine specialist, says two specialized treatments are growing more common and can help you heal faster.
Platelet-rich plasma is a specialized treatment that Dr. Presley says can bring relief for many patients dealing with soft tissue injuries.
"Platelet-rich plasma is a way of trying to harness the body's immune system or the body's own ability to heal tissues," Dr. Presley says. "[We] concentrate it and then 'spot-shoot' it into the area of injury."
Dr. Presley says the process involves taking blood from your arm, processing it to concentrate the platelets, then injecting it directly into the affected area.
"These treatments seem to be helpful in helping the healing process move along when it comes to tendon and ligament injuries, and potentially to help decrease pain and improve function in a joint that has some arthritis," Dr. Presley says.
The second treatment is called bone marrow aspirate concentrate and involves extracting cells, including stem cells, from bone marrow in the pelvis; processing them into a solution; and injecting them into a painful joint.
"The studies that have been done with this have shown patients have decreased pain and thereby improved function of a joint with mild to moderate osteoarthritis," Dr. Presley says.
But he says the best thing you can do is protect your muscles, tendons, and ligaments from injury by finding a happy medium between staying active and avoiding overuse.