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Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections and Other Alternatives to Cortisone injections


Do you have joint pain from arthritis, tendinitis, or soft tissue damage? Have you strained or torn a muscle? Fortunately, there are safe and natural treatments available to help heal your issue. Here we talk about cortisone.

Although we still use corticosteroid or “cortisone” injections as an effective pain treatment for certain conditions, they have potential side effects if used incorrectly. Overuse or misuse of corticosteroids can cause bone density loss, hormonal imbalance, and mood changes. Nonetheless, when used correctly, they can be helpful without potential harmful effects.

This blog will explore cortisone shots’ potential risks and side effects and the benefits of PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injections as an alternative.

What are Cortisone Injections?

Cortisone shots or “steroid injections” are anti-inflammatory that relieve pain and improve function in a joint pain or tendinitis. They are commonly administered for shoulder pain, knee pain, elbow pain, hip pain, ankle pain, wrist pain, neck pain, low back pain, and tendinitis. Cortiosteroids are naturally occurring and necessary in the body but what is used in medicine is the synthetic version and should be used cautiously as they are very powerful.

How Does Cortisone Injection Work?

Cortisone is an artificially manufactured substance that mimics natural hormones in our body. Sometimes, when a temporary increase in inflammation causes pain, a cortisone shot can reverse the problem and cure the pain, especially with lifestyle changes or strengthening exercises.


An example is in the case of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis – a wrist pain condition. In this case, a single cortisone shot can “fix” the problem permanently. The same is true for multiple other pain issues.

However, in many cases, it often doesn’t cure the underlying problem causing the inflammation. It may help temporarily but the pain is likely to return.

For instance, administering a cortisone shot into an arthritic joint may temporarily ease the discomfort. However, it may not fix the pain long term. It will also not help “nurture” or regenerate the damaged cartilage.

As with everything, quality matters! Corticosteroid product used is crucial for the treatment’s success. We use the highest quality corticosteroids as they are more effective and have fewer side effects.

Risks and Side Effects of Cortisone Shots

Repeated use and larger doses of cortisone shots can lead to moderate to adverse side effects, such as cartilage damage, nerve damage, temporary facial flushing, tendon weakening or rupture, and death of the nearby bone.

A flare usually lasts for one or two days. In addition, cortisone injections can cause skin discoloration on the injection site that can be temporary or permanent. 

Besides these side effects, corticosteroids can also elevate blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, you should inform your healthcare provider before receiving a shot.

Moreover, a study says cortisone shots may lead to more long-term harm than previously thought. In particular, it can accelerate osteoarthritis progression and lead to bone loss and osteonecrosis.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections for Pain

PRP treatment is a safe, natural treatment option for joint pain, tendinitis, or muscle tear. Like cortisone, PRP reduces inflammation and pain caused by tendon, joint, ligament, and soft tissue injuries. However, this treatment can have much lower risk and fewer potential complications.

Unlike cortisone shots that offer temporary relief, PRP can “nurture” and heal the issue. Although PRP treatment involves more healing time, it targets the underlying cause of the issue and can fix it.

In essence, PRP can be more beneficial since it is resolving the issue and not just masking it as in some cases with cortisone use.

How Does Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy Work?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) uses the patient’s own body’s healing properties to help knee pain, shoulder pain, elbow pain, wrist pain, ankle pain, tendinitis, ligament issues, and muscle tears. Your provider will perform a blood draw and then centrifuge it with a special kit that concentrates platelets. The reason it is important to contrate the platelets is because they excrete healing proteins called growth factors. This is the key ingredient in PRP injections. Growth factors are responsible for healing injured tissue.

Benefits of PRP Injection

PRP therapy is a cutting-edge tool for helping to heal knee pain, shoulder pain, elbow pain, wrist pain, ankle pain, tendinitis, ligament tear, muscle tears, and more. It offers long-term benefit.

Let’s dig deeper into the benefits of platelet rich plasma treatment.

Safe and Effective


PRP can be used as a standalone treatment or combined with other therapies. Even better, PRP can be repeated safely and without concern. 

There are multiple forms of PRP, including Alpha 2 Macroglobulin (A2M) and autologous Exosomes. Both these treatments use your plasma to help rid of pain and improve the function of your joints and tissues. An experienced healthcare professional can help you determine the best PRP type for your condition. 

Targets the Root Cause of Pain

The main component of PRP is growth factors. Growth factors can effectively reduce inflammation, substantially reducing pain and stiffness. They can also repair tissue.


Non-Lastly, PRP treatments are a simple, minimally invasive intervention for various injuries or conditions. It can be used with lifestyle changes and physical therapy to facilitate recovery from injury.

Platelet Rich Plasma Injection at Full Circle 

Full Circle Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Clinic has decades of experience providing low-risk, high-reward treatments, including PRP.

We use a high-quality preparation kit and centrifuge to concentrate your platelets. The plasma extraction process only takes ten to 15 minutes, and we inject the PRP into the affected area. Total time in the office is about one hour. After that, you can go home and rest.

Research suggests that two to three sessions of PRP promote better outcomes, but this will vary for each patient. Our patients often experience complete pain relief after just one PRP sessions.

If you are suffering from age related degenration, trauma, or sports-related injury, give us a call. Our clinic specializes in orthopedic and sports injury evaluation, and we only use safe and effective treatments to relieve your pain. 

We are licensed health professionals trained in treating orthopedic and sports injuries.

Want to know more about PRP and whether or not it’s the best pain reduction treatment for you? We can discuss your treatment options and create the best plan for your condition. We are here to help you get your life back and enjoy the activities you love.

Other Alternatives

Besides PRP therapy, other treatments are intended for age and injury-related pain, such as:

Hyaluronic Acid (HA) Gel Injections

HA or “gel” injections are primarily used for knee pain and shoulder pain from osteoarthritis but can be use for multiple other joints as well. Hyaluronic acid injections can supplement the supportive joint fluid in your joint and also slow the progression of arthritis by protecting your chondrocytes.

Trigger Point Injections

Trigger point injection is another pain management method that involves administering a local anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medication to the affected area to relax muscles, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain.

Amniotic-Derived Cell Therapy

This therapy involves injecting amniotic and cord blood fluid derived healing properties into the affected area to improve the body’s ability to heal damaged tissues naturally.

Compared to surgical options, where your recovery may take several months or years, our non-invasive treatments are designed to help you get back on track in less time and at a fraction of the cost.

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