Hamstring Injuries and the ‘Miracle’ of PRP Therapy
Dr. Lewis G. Maharam, a well-known sports medicine expert and media personality, frequently addresses injuries suffered by runners. After all, he is known as the Running DocTM. In a recent column published by the New York Daily News, he addressed treatments for hamstring injuries, including PRP therapy.
The article was facilitated by a runner hoping to understand two things. First, he wanted to know how he could limit his downtime after suffering a hamstring pull. Next, he was curious about the fact that hamstring injuries among pro football players seem to be more severe, requiring more downtime. The Running Doc offered some interesting information on both counts.
Treatment for Hamstring Injuries
The Running Doc is a practicing clinician in addition to his responsibilities as president of the New York Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine and a medical journalist. He routinely treats sports injuries among both pros and amateurs alike. When it comes to hamstring injuries, he follows a very specific protocol.
First, Dr. Maharam recommends ice and compression. He tells patients not to apply heat as it can cause further damage. Next, he recommends a combination of PRP injections and physical therapy. According to Maharam, PRP therapy “works like a miracle with hamstring injuries.” He says it reduces healing time by as much as 50%.
As for physical therapy, Maharam recommends sessions three times a week. The goal is to facilitate the strengthening and stretching necessary to promote healing. He maintains that a lack of proper physical therapy leads to a higher risk of re-injury.
The Advanced Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI), a Utah-based training organization for doctors who want to offer regenerative medicine in their own practices, says that Maharam’s treatment protocol makes good sense. PRP injections combined with physical therapy promote natural healing rather than simply masking the pain of injury. The two can be very effective for treating sports injuries, chronic pain, and more.
Hamstring Injuries in Pro Football
The secondary question posed by Dr. Maharam’s reader was not so easy to answer. Indeed, Maharam had no concrete answer other than to say that pro football players may not be giving proper attention to stretching and strengthening. They put a lot of pressure on their hamstrings, which would naturally promote injury, but re-injury shouldn’t be as common as it is.
Although Maharam did not mention it, we do know from paying attention to sports media that growing numbers of pro football players are receiving PRP injections following hamstring injuries. Like the general public, they are gradually becoming more aware that PRP therapy can reduce downtime while also mitigating the risk of future injury by promoting more thorough healing.
PRP Is a Viable Alternative
Dr. Maharam refers to PRP therapy as a miracle capable of promoting faster healing. Perhaps the word ‘miracle’ is a bit too strong here. At any rate, PRP therapy is at least a viable alternative to more traditional treatments.
PRP therapy utilizes blood drawn directly from the patient being treated. That blood is processed in a centrifuge to isolate platelets and growth factors. The resulting material is then injected directly into the site of injury using imaging equipment to pinpoint the best possible location.
If an injured athlete can reduce downtime and experience better healing by way of PRP injections, then why not give the treatment a try? Dr. Maharam says his clinic enjoys a very good success rate using the protocol he outlined in his article. He seems to know what he’s talking about, and he has the credentials to back it up.