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Shoulder Pain: PRP Is Effective For Rotator Cuff Damage

Samuel G Oltman, ND, RMSK

With the forehand of the racket, the follow through of the driver, or the reach overhead you feel it: shoulder pain. It is OK most of the time but then a sharp, stabbing pain in the outside-top of the shoulder stops you in your tracks multiple times per day. It may be a rotator cuff problem and PRP can help. Getting the right diagnosis is the first step and it can be done in-office with an expert ultrasound evaluation. Next is choosing the right treatment plan for you and your goals so you can get back to doing the things you love without pain. 

What Is The “Rotator Cuff”? 

The rotator cuff is a term used to describe a set of 4 tendons that stabilize the ball-and-socket joint in the shoulder through movement: supraspinatus, subscapularis, infraspinatus, and teres minor. Supraspinatus is by far the most commonly injured one of the 4 and results in pain at the outside-top of the shoulder with raising the arm. Problems here are very common and can be slow wear-and-tear accumulations, or single acute injuries. 

PRP Rotator Cuff
Creator: VectorMine | Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Ultrasound Visualizes The Entire Rotator Cuff

The entirety of all 4 rotator cuff tendons can be seen in detail and through dynamic evaluation with an expert ultrasound evaluation. This is included in every visit at no extra charge. Differentiating between inflammation in the tendon (tendinitis), inflammation lying over the tendon (bursitis), or a tendon tear (partial or full) is key when deciding what to do for treatment. 

PRP Is Effective for Rotator Cuff Pain

PRP is safe and effective for shoulder rotator cuff pain. Study after study demonstrates the same general pattern: PRP performs equally to other treatments in the short term and far outperforms all others in the longer term (1, 2, 3, 4). We believe this is from the healing stimulus that PRP provides that over time strengthens the tendon, instead of just reducing the inflammation or covering up the pain. PRP has been shown to reduce the size of partial tears (5) and reduce the re-tear rate (6) when there is a partial tear, preventing a larger tear from developing. It can also be used post-surgery if pain remains after a rotator cuff repair procedure. 

Ultrasound-Guided PRP Only

The PRP is injected with exquisite precision using ultrasound-guidance and can be placed in any location it’s needed for the best outcome: in the tendon, into a tear, into the overlying bursa, and/or into the joint. A full nerve block is done prior to the procedure, also ultrasound-guided, to reduce discomfort and enhance recovery. 

PRP shoulder

Schedule With Us Today

PRP, when made properly and delivered with precision, is an effective alternative to the PT-surgery route. I recommend physical therapy to almost all of my patients, but if that doesn’t full resolve your pain, the next option does not have to be surgery. Get back into the swing of things safely and effectively with PRP. Schedule a visit or complementary phone call with Dr. Oltman today.


  1. A. Hamid MS, Sazlina SG. Platelet-rich plasma for rotator cuff tendinopathy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2021;16(5):e0251111.

  2. Lin MT, Wei KC, Wu CH. Effectiveness of platelet-rich plasma injection in rotator cuff tendinopathy: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Diagnostics (Basel). 2020;10(4):189.

  3. Bhan K, Singh B, Bhan K, Singh B. Efficacy of platelet-rich plasma injection in the management of rotator cuff tendinopathy: a review of the current literature. Cureus. 2022;14(6).

  4. Moretti L, Bizzoca D, Cassano GD, Coviello M, Franchini A, Moretti B. One-shot platelet-rich plasma (Prp) injection is non-inferior to extracorporeal shockwave therapy in the management of supraspinatus tendinosis. Musculoskelet Surg. 2023;107(4):455-462.

  5. Tanpowpong T, Thepsoparn M, Numkarunarunrote N, Itthipanichpong T, Limskul D, Thanphraisan P. Effects of platelet-rich plasma in tear size reduction in partial-thickness tear of the supraspinatus tendon compared to corticosteroids injection. Sports Medicine - Open. 2023;9(1):11.

  6. X C, Ia J, R T, C P, Ct V. Use of platelet-rich plasma for the improvement of pain and function in rotator cuff tears: a systematic review and meta-analysis with bias assessment. The American journal of sports medicine. 2020;48(8).


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