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PRP Joint Injections

Over the past decade, PRP has been recognized for its potential in treating both chronic and acute musculoskeletal injuries involving ligaments, tendons, and joints. More recently, PRP injections are gaining wide media attention for their use with professional athletes in attempts to return them to competition as soon as possible. 

In a quick and simple outpatient procedure, PRP injections can help you: 

  • Build strength  

  • Improve balance and coordination  

  • Increase flexibility and range of motion  

  • Recover mobility  

  • Reduce pain and swelling 

  • Regenerate cartilage  

  • Speed post-surgical recovery 

How PRP Works 

When we suffer an injury to soft tissue like a tendon, our body’s initial response is to quickly send platelet cells to the affected tissue. That’s because platelets are not only the clotting cells of our blood, but they also contain powerful healing factors that get to work repairing injured tissue and providing assistance to stem cells in damaged muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

PRP therapy involves taking that natural process and supercharging it. The treatment is safe, simple, fast, and largely pain-free. We start by taking a sample of the patient’s blood and place it in a centrifuge where we separate the platelets and their healing and growth factors from the other elements of the blood. Dr. Zuniga injects those growth factors right into injured or damaged tissue where these specialized cells jumpstart repair and healing, dividing and building new tissue.

Since PRP therapy uses your own blood rather than blood from a donor, there is no risk of transmissible infection. The non-surgical treatment typically takes only a few hours, including preparation, injection, and recovery. No anesthesia is needed, nor is any significant recovery time involved.

Conditions Treated

PRP can help promote healing in patients with a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. We may suggest PRP injections for people with sport- or activity-related injuries, arthritis, or during or after surgery on a major joint.  

Our team will take the time to speak with you about your goals for treatment and conduct a thorough exam to determine if you are a good candidate for PRP. If approved, we will then develop a personalized treatment plan for you. 

Platelet-Rich Plasma for Sports Medicine Injuries 

PRP can help promote healing in those with a sports or activity-related injury. In these patients, PRP can reduce recovery times for non-surgical injuries such as Tennis elbow, Golfers elbow or Achilles tendinitis. PRP injection can also benefit people with tendon or soft tissue injuries who would like to avoid surgery.  

PRP injection is often with sports medicine injuries related to the: 

  • Achilles tendon

  • Anterior cruciate ligament

  • Lateral/medial epicondyle (Tennis/Golfer's elbow)

  • Rotator cuff

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Platelet-Rich Plasma for Joint Pain

PRP can be beneficial for people with arthritis or pain in major joints. In these patients, PRP injections can help alleviate discomfort and improve function. People who aren’t yet ready for a hip, knee, wrist, or shoulder replacement are often good candidates for PRP injection.

 

PRP injection is used most often with the following joints: 

  • Wrist (carpal tunnel)

  • Glenohumeral (shoulder)

  • Knee

  • Foot (Plantar fasciitis)

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The Treatment Process 

PRP injections are prepared using your own blood. After it's drawn, your blood is placed in a specialized system called a centrifuge, to separate platelets from the other components of your blood, such as red blood cells. 

Next, these highly concentrated platelets — or PRP — are injected into the site of your pain or injury. There, they release growth factors that help accelerate the healing-regenerative process. Your doctor will anesthetize the treatment site before the procedure to reduce initial discomfort. 

Benefits of PRP 
  • PRP injections can offer consistent pain relief and functional improvement for one year or longer.  

  • Because PRP is derived from your own blood, there is a low chance of having an allergic reaction or abnormal immune response.  

  • PRP injections have minimal risk of local infection (<1%). Serious side effects or complications are extremely rare. Minor pain at the site of the injection is common in the short term but is easily managed with pain relievers.  

  • PRP injections are beneficial for a broad range of people including athletes, post-surgical patients, and those with arthritis or who want to avoid surgery.  

  • Patients receiving PRP injections are helping to advance pioneering medical research. 

Wondering what an injection is like?

Watch Dr. Zuniga inject this patient to treat knee pain!

PRP Injections Typically Offer Many Months of Relief

But a question we are often asked about PRP therapy is how long these injectable treatments last. The answer depends on three primary factors:

  • The nature and extent of the injury

  • The patient’s overall health

  • The patient’s initial reaction to a PRP injection

While every patient is different and not everybody responds to the treatment in precisely the same way. But many studies suggest that the relief offered by PRP injections can last up to 12 months. That relief does not happen instantly, however. After a treatment, it can take several weeks for the healing factors to do their repair work. But once they do, the results can be dramatic in terms of reduced pain and increased mobility. If an initial treatment does not achieve desired results after three months or so, a second injection can be administered.

TESTIMONIALS

"I was looking for a less invasive alternative to potential knee surgery. My issues were due to inherited family history and somewhat recent injury. I became aware of PRP treatment and decided to visit Dr. Zuniga to learn about it. Dr. Zuniga was extremely thorough in his explanation of pros/cons/expectations, as well as physical examination of my knee. The cost is not prohibitive, and I had the procedure done March 19, 2024. Dr. Zuniga and his assistant were, as expected, very thorough and explained everything before and while performing the procedure. It went far better than I expected with very little discomfort. To my surprise, I received a text later that night from Dr. Zuniga to check on me. Never in my life have I received a personal follow-up from a physician. Dr. Zuniga is very professional, thorough and caring. If interested in PRP do not hesitate to see him."

CHERYL, Shelby, NC

Optimized by Research 

Because PRP is on the cutting edge of orthobiologic treatments, there is a significant amount of variation in the protocols used by providers nationwide. 

In response, Dr. Zuniga at Wellness by Design, has trained with leading PRP experts and reviewed other PRP data from around to world to identify the most effective approach. The result is a unique PRP formulation, which is personalized for each individual patient. Dr. Zuniga has trained and completed the Perfect PRPTM Joint Injection program with Dr. Jeffrey L. Piccirillo.
 

The formulation and preparation of PRP that a patient receives is among the most important factors for positive outcomes. 

Insurance Coverage 

PRP injections are typically not covered by insurance plans therefore insurance companies do not reimburse for this procedure. However, we are happy to provide documentation and receipts if you would like to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does an injection last? Patients will start to see an improvement in pain and mobility within a few weeks, with ongoing improvements over a few months. While results vary, most patients will see benefits of the injection up to 12 months. 

What does a joint injection cost? One joint is $750, which includes pre-screening, labs, and follow-up evaluations for 12 months. 

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