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PRP for Tennis Elbow: A Promising, but Complex, Treatment Option

prp for tennis elbow

Tennis elbow, medically known as lateral epicondylitis, is a common condition causing pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow. It often afflicts athletes who overuse their forehand motion, but anyone can develop it through repetitive activities like gardening or painting. While rest, physical therapy, and pain relievers are typically the first line of treatment, some cases may require more robust interventions. This is where platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections come in as a potentially promising option.

What is PRP?

PRP is a concentrated blood product rich in platelets. Platelets are tiny cells responsible for clotting, but they also contain a multitude of growth factors that play a crucial role in tissue healing and regeneration. In PRP therapy, a small amount of your blood is drawn, spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelets, and then injected into the injured area, in this case, the damaged tendons of the elbow.

PRP for Tennis Elbow: How Does it Work?

The theory behind PRP for tennis elbow is that the concentrated growth factors in the injected plasma will stimulate the healing process, reduce inflammation, and promote tendon repair.

PRP injection involves drawing a small amount of the patient’s blood and processing it to concentrate the platelets, which contain growth factors that promote healing. The concentrated platelets are then injected into the affected area of the elbow, where they release the growth factors and stimulate the body’s natural healing process.

Research has shown that PRP injection for tennis elbow can be an effective treatment for tennis elbow, with many patients experiencing significant pain relief and improved function. However, as with any medical treatment, there are potential risks and side effects associated with PRP injection, such as infection or nerve damage. It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of PRP injection with a qualified healthcare provider before undergoing the procedure.

This can potentially lead to:

  • Reduced pain and tenderness
  • Improved grip strength and function
  • Faster recovery time

PRP Injection vs. Surgery for Tennis Elbow

Surgery is usually considered a last resort for tennis elbow, mainly for severe cases or those that haven’t responded to other treatments. Compared to surgery, PRP injections offer several advantages:

  • Minimally invasive: No incisions or major tissue disruption.
  • Faster recovery: Shorter downtime and quicker return to activities.
  • Fewer risks: Lower complication rate compared to surgery.
  • Natural approach: Utilizes your own body’s healing potential.

However, it’s important to note that:

  • The evidence for PRP’s effectiveness is mixed: While some studies show promising results, others haven’t found significant benefits over other treatments like physical therapy.
  • PRP is not a magic bullet: It may not work for everyone and may require multiple injections.
  • PRP can be expensive: It’s not usually covered by insurance.

Therefore, it’s crucial to discuss the pros and cons of PRP with your doctor to determine if it’s the right option for you.

Does PRP work for tennis elbow?

Does PRP work for tennis elbow

The answer is it’s complicated. PRP, or platelet-rich plasma, therapy is a relatively new treatment for tennis elbow, and the research on its effectiveness is mixed. Some studies have shown promising results, while others have not found significant benefits over other treatments, such as physical therapy.

Here’s what we know:

  • PRP is a concentrated blood product rich in platelets. Platelets contain growth factors that help heal tissues.
  • In PRP therapy for tennis elbow, the PRP is injected into the injured tendons. The theory is that the growth factors will stimulate healing and reduce inflammation.
  • Some studies have shown that PRP can be effective in reducing pain and improving function in people with tennis elbow. However, other studies have not found a significant difference between PRP and other treatments.
  • PRP is generally safe, but there are some side effects, such as pain, swelling, and bruising at the injection site.
  • PRP is expensive and is not usually covered by insurance.

So, should you consider PRP for tennis elbow?

It’s a decision you should make with your doctor. They can consider your individual case, including the severity of your tennis elbow, your overall health, and your expectations for treatment.

Here are some things to think about:

  • If you have mild to moderate tennis elbow that has not responded to other treatments, PRP may be a good option for you.
  • If you have severe tennis elbow, you may need surgery.
  • If you are concerned about the cost of PRP, you may want to consider other treatments, such as physical therapy.

Overall, PRP is a promising treatment for tennis elbow, but more research is needed to determine its long-term effectiveness. If you are considering PRP, be sure to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits to see if it is right for you.

How long does it take for PRP to work on tennis elbow?

PRP can take varying times to work on tennis elbow, with individual factors playing a significant role. Here’s a breakdown:

Initial pain relief:

  • Many patients experience some improvement within 3-4 weeks after the first injection.
  • Major improvements are generally expected around 6-12 weeks.

Full recovery:

  • Tendons heal slowly due to their limited blood supply.
  • Full recovery can take 4-6 months, sometimes even longer.

Factors affecting response:

  • Severity and duration of your tennis elbow: Chronic or severe cases might require more time.
  • Your overall health and healing abilities.
  • Number of PRP injections: Generally, two injections spaced 2-4 weeks apart are recommended, but some cases might require more.

How many injections can you have for tennis elbow?

The number of injections you can have for tennis elbow depends on several factors, including:

  • The severity of your condition: If you have a mild case of tennis elbow, you may only need one or two injections. However, if your case is more severe, you may need three or four injections.
  • Your response to treatment: Some people respond well to PRP injections, while others do not. If you are not responding well to treatment, your doctor may recommend additional injections.
  • The type of injection you are receiving: There are different types of injections used to treat tennis elbow, such as corticosteroid injections and PRP injections. The number of injections you can have will vary depending on the type of injection.

In general, most people can safely have up to three PRP injections for tennis elbow. However, it is important to talk to your doctor about what is right for you. They will be able to take into account your individual factors and recommend the best course of treatment.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind about PRP injections for tennis elbow:

  • PRP injections are typically given at intervals of 4-6 weeks.
  • It may take several weeks or even months to see the full effects of treatment.
  • PRP injections are not a cure for tennis elbow, but they can help to relieve pain and improve function.

How much does prp cost for tennis elbow?

How much does prp cost for tennis elbow?

The cost of PRP therapy for tennis elbow can vary significantly depending on several factors, including:

  • Location: Costs tend to be higher in big cities compared to smaller towns.
  • Facility: Different clinics or hospitals may have different pricing structures.
  • Doctor’s expertise: More experienced or renowned doctors may charge more.
  • Number of injections: Some cases may require multiple injections, increasing the overall cost.
  • Type of PRP preparation: There are different methods for preparing PRP, which can impact the price.

Here’s a general range:

  • Single injection: The cost for a single PRP injection for tennis elbow typically falls between $500 and $2,500.
  • Multiple injections: If you need multiple injections, the total cost can quickly climb to $3,000 or even $5,000.

Additional factors to consider:

  • Insurance coverage: Unfortunately, PRP therapy is not usually covered by insurance in most cases. This means you will likely be responsible for the entire cost out-of-pocket.
  • Anesthesia fees: Some clinics may charge additional fees for anesthesia, especially if you have a strong fear of needles.
  • Follow-up appointments: The cost of follow-up appointments with your doctor after the injection should also be factored in.

To get a more accurate estimate for your specific situation, it’s best to consult with a doctor or clinic that offers PRP therapy. They can give you a personalized quote based on your individual needs and the factors mentioned above.

Things to Consider Before Opting for PRP:

  • Severity of your tennis elbow: PRP may be more effective for mild to moderate cases.
  • Your overall health: Certain medical conditions might make PRP unsuitable.
  • Cost: Be aware of the potential out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Realistic expectations: PRP is a treatment, not a cure. Improvement may take time.


PRP therapy for tennis elbow holds promise as a minimally invasive and potentially effective treatment. However, the evidence for its efficacy is still evolving, and it’s not a guaranteed solution for everyone. Consulting with your doctor and carefully weighing the benefits and drawbacks is crucial before making a decision. Remember, a comprehensive treatment approach that combines PRP with other modalities like physical therapy may offer the best chance of recovery.


  • How effective is PRP for tennis elbow?

    PRP has shown effectiveness in treating tennis elbow by promoting healing and reducing inflammation. Many individuals experience positive outcomes, but the degree of effectiveness can vary.

  • Is PRP effective for tennis elbow?

    Research suggests that PRP can be effective for tennis elbow, offering a regenerative approach to healing damaged tendons. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised for personalized assessment.

  • Is PRP for tennis elbow painful?

    Discomfort during the PRP injection for tennis elbow is possible, but pain levels vary among individuals. Local anesthesia or numbing agents may be used to minimize discomfort.

  • Do PRP injections work for tennis elbow?

    PRP injections have demonstrated efficacy in promoting tissue repair and reducing symptoms of tennis elbow. Results may vary, and individual responses should be discussed with a medical professional.

  • What is the success rate of PRP for elbow?

    Success rates for PRP in treating tennis elbow vary, with many patients experiencing significant improvement. Success depends on factors such as the severity of the condition and individual response to treatment.

  • What is the cost of PRP injection for tennis elbow?

    The cost of PRP injections for tennis elbow can vary based on factors like location, clinic, and individualized treatment plans. Consultation with healthcare providers or insurance companies can provide cost details.

  • How many injections can you have for tennis elbow?

    The number of PRP injections for tennis elbow varies based on the individual’s response and the severity of the condition. Healthcare professionals typically determine the appropriate treatment plan for each patient.

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