Ask the Docs | More Patient Questions

Presented by Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, team physicians for the Chicago Bulls

Ask the Docs

Patient Question:

I recently read that Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich underwent some type of blood platelet therapy to help his thumb heal faster. How does that work? Are there any side effects?

Dr. Brian Cole:

You’re describing Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, or PRP for short. This innovative new treatment is increasingly being used to treat muscle and ligament injuries in top-tier athletes. Platelets are a natural source of growth factors, which helps catalyze growth of new soft-tissue or bone cells.

Dr. Brian Cole
Dr. Cole

Using the patient’s own blood, Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy involves separating platelets from red blood cells using a centrifuge. The concentrated, platelet rich blood is then injected back into the patient's body at the site of an injury. By injecting this super concentrated dose of the patient’s platelets into the location of the injury, we can reduce pain more quickly and initiate a healing response quicker than the body would on its own.

The procedure has virtually no side effects, and early results are encouraging (so much so that at Rush we’re expanding our research into PRP). We see no potential downside effects, yet remain cautiously optimistic that this might prove to be a successful adjunct to these often nagging injuries.

For more information about Dr. Cole and the other hand, wrist, and elbow physicians of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, call 877 MD BONES or visit them online at www.rushortho.com.

The information contained on this page is intended only for general public education, and is not intended to serve as a substitute for direct medical advice. This information should not replace necessary medical consultations with a qualified orthopaedic physician.

Thumb Sprain
This past week while playing in my weekly basketball league, I injured my thumb while trying to deflect a pass. My symptoms are bruising, tenderness, and swelling. I’m guessing that I sprained my thumb. Do I risk a more serious injury if I don’t stop playing? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Treatment for a Broken Arm
I recently read that Chicago Bulls’ player Tyrus Thomas fractured his left forearm. Is this a common injury? How is it treated? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Osgood-Schlatter Disease
My son is a 15-year-old ninth grader who has experienced Osgood-Schlatter Disease for a couple of years. Lately, the condition seems to be getting worse. Can this be treated? Is it something that he will eventually grow out of? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Big Toe Joint Replacement
I am a 30-year-old basketball player who plays professionally in Europe. Some time ago I had bunion surgery outside of the United States, which produced a poor result. Two screws were place through the joint which ultimately damaged my cartilage. I am considering partial joint replacement of my big toe. Do you think it will be possible to return to play professionally after this procedure? My body heals pretty well but I have not seen an example of an athlete who had partial joint replacement in the big toe and was able to resume their career. For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Toe Cartilage Injury
I am in my mid-forties and have arthritis in my big toe joint. A recent MRI shows broken cartilage that my surgeon wants to remove along with microfracture in an attempt to spur cartilage growth. Are you aware of any research on growing cartilage in the first metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP)? I’ve found quite a bit of information about knee cartilage regeneration, but can't find much at all about MTP. For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Distal Biceps Rupture
I suffered distal biceps rupture approximately four months ago. I’ve been rehabbing the injury with little progress. Should I continue with rehab? Is it too late to have surgery? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Craig Della Valle (Rush Medical Center) talks hip replacement (03.24.09)

Dr. Brian Cole (Midwest Orthopedics at Rush) on Luol Deng's leg injury (03.04.09)

Bunion Surgery
I had bunion surgery 11 years ago on my right foot and now I think I need it on my left foot. When I had surgery, I was in a cast and had a pin in my foot. Has the surgery progressed since then? Are there any other options? Can a cortisone shot help? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Big Toe Arthritis
I recently went to a Podiatrist for treatment of what I thought was a bunion only to find out that I have Hallux Limitus or Hallux Rigidus. Is surgery the only treatment option for these conditions? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

OCD of the Knee
My 13 year old son has been diagnosed with OCD of the patella, although I am very confused as to what this means. There appears to be a hole in his cartilage and he is in a great deal of pain. He is a top athlete, and I’m worried for him that this means he is done with sports. What treatment options are available to him? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Sensitive Feet
The tops of both of my feet are extremely sensitive to any kind of touch or pressure. I am not experiencing any swelling or significant pain, however. Also, I am unable to recall any specific injury or event when the condition started, but I’ve been experiencing it for a really long time. For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Rotator Cuff Tears
I believe that I have a rotator cuff injury. Are there degrees of rotator cuff tears? If so, do they all require surgery for repair? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Problems with Heel Spurs
I have a large heel spur growing out of my right heel and up into the Achilles. The pain is very severe and I am currently undergoing ultrasound and acupuncture treatment. Is there any treatment short of surgery (laser treatment, for example) that will alleviate the pain and diminish the heel spur? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Hydration
In general, what are the pros and cons to drinking water, fitness water, or sports drinks? When is the best time to drink each during practice or during a game? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Shoe Replacement
How often should I replace my basketball shoes? Everyone I talk to has a different opinion, especially shoe salespeople. I’m interested in hearing a physician’s perspective. For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Ankle Swelling
My daughter twisted her ankle at the end of her last basketball game of the season. Her ankle swelled pretty quickly but she has very little bruising. She can apply weight on the foot but has definite discomfort. We kept her off her foot the rest of the day and applied the R.I.C.E. method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). My question is at what point should I stop being doctor mom and actually take her to see someone? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Ankle Arthritis
I have severe pain in my left ankle due to arthritis from an old injury. I'm 46 and the pain has gotten worse as the years go on. Once I'm on the ankle, it is ok for a couple of hours but when I'm off of it for a little while it will freeze up and takes a long time to free movement in the joint. Am I a candidate for ankle replacement surgery? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Sacroiliac Joint and Low Back Pain
For several months I have been experiencing a deep tissue pain that starts in the upper part of my right glute and is accompanied by pain in my lower back. I cannot remember any specific incident that caused this injury. I take Ibuprofen for the pain, but the condition keeps resurfacing and is now limiting my running routine. Could this be serious? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Heel Pain
My 14-year-old son has been experiencing extreme pain in his heels during basketball practice. It slows him down and he can't perform on the court. He is on a travel team and as he ages the practices become more intense. We have tried orthotics, heel cups, and cork risers along with stretching to alleviate the pain but it persists. We have seen two local podiatrists and nothing helps. Is there anything else we can do? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Cramping
I am an active person who works out about four to five times a week. I try and eat a balanced diet and drink enough water. Over the past month I have experienced an increasing amount of cramps while working out. I’ve tried drinking more water, but that is not helping. Sometimes the cramps are so severe I must discontinue activity, and they even wake me up at night. Is there anything else that I can do to prevent these cramps? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Achilles Tendonitis
Over the past few months, I have been experiencing pain and tightening in the back of my heel/Achilles before and after I play basketball. Last week the pain turned from dull to sharp and now it is painful even at rest. Could this be a strain? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Frozen Elbow
I read an article about a condition referred to as "frozen shoulder" and was curious if this condition can also affect the elbow. I recently had a problem with my left elbow with similar symptoms that was not a result of any injury and now have an odd formation of scar tissue. For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Foot Sprain
I twisted my right foot last week in a pickup basketball game. When I walk on it for an extended period of time, it swells to about twice its normal size (on the top of my foot) and begins to hurt to the point that I can barely put weight on it. When I lie down at night the swelling dissipates and by the next morning is almost completely gone. What could this be and should I make an appointment to see a physician? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
I have been experiencing pain in my knee and around my kneecap after I play basketball. I also feel this pain during my workday as I sit at my desk. What is causing this? Should I continue to workout or should I taper my activity? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Low Back Sprain
I play basketball about three times a week and I have been experiencing pain in my lower back. The pain started last week and back spasms have kept me from my normal activities. It feels better when I rest. How long should I lay off playing? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Ankle Sprains
I noticed in recent game reports that a few of the Bulls players have suffered from ankle injuries. This seems to be a common injury with basketball players. How can you tell the severity of a sprain? Do you have any advice for healing and preventing ankle injuries? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Hamstring Pull
A few weeks ago I injured my right leg playing basketball. Since then I have been experiencing pain in my hamstring. I'm trying to rest it, and I can ride a bike and walk, but I cannot run or play basketball. I've been doing some strengthening and stretching exercises but it still really hurts to sit or stand up after sitting for a prolonged period of time. Do you have any advice that could help along the healing process? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Partial ACL Tears
What is your opinion regarding treatment of partial tears of the ACL? I was diagnosed 6 weeks ago with a 30% tear of the ACL, but no one seems willing to reconstruct it. I am a professional dancer and I need my knee to be 100%–without a brace. I have heard that a partial ACL tear will continue to tear under strenuous activity. Is this true? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Bicep Tendon Tear
I am 52 years young and consider myself in good health. Lately, however, I have been experiencing a pain in the deep inner fold where my forearm and bicep meet. It really hurts whenever I do curls or other activities that put additional strain on the area. I would imagine that the pain is possibly associated with a tendon tear. What are your thoughts and what besides not exercising could help ease the pain? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Tibial Plateau Fracture
Over the past few months I have been experiencing pain below my left knee while running. After a collision in my basketball game last week, I heard a “pop” and experienced a shooting pain through my knee and down my shin. My knee is now extremely swollen. My family doctor ruled out major ligament damage and has sent me to get X-rays and a MRI. What could this be? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Jammed Finger
While playing basketball this week I jammed my finger trying to catch a hot pass. The finger is now tender, swollen, and painful when I bend it. Could this be serious? Should I have X-rays? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Hip Pointer
While playing basketball this weekend I collided with another team member and injured my hip. Now my hip is tender and painful when I walk. Could this be serious? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Groin Strains
I have been experiencing pain in my inner thigh. There is also some bruising, swelling, and discomfort when I play basketball and push off my right leg. How long do you think I’ll need to rest before it heals? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Ankle Sprains
While playing basketball last week I came down wrong on my foot and I think I rolled my ankle. How can I tell if the injury is serious, and when can I return to normal physical activity? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Hip Bursitis
While playing basketball last month I fell and landed on my hip. It didn’t seem to hurt much then, but as time has passed I have had an increasing pain at the point of my hip. Is this something that will go away on its own? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Plantar Fascia: A Common Basketball Foot Injury
My heel bothers when I play basketball, and it really hurts when I wake up in the morning and stand up after rest. Is this some type of bruise, or is it a more serious injury? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Wrist Contusion
While playing basketball this weekend I collided with another team member and injured my wrist on another player’s knee. My wrist is now swollen, black and blue, and tender to the touch. Could this be serious? Should I have X-rays? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Mallet Finger
While playing basketball last week I jammed my finger on the ball. My finger is still painful and swollen, but only at the fingertip. I also have trouble straightening the tip of my finger. Do you think anything is broken? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
When I raise my arms over my head for a rebound or reach to block a shot, I’m having pain in my shoulder. What could be causing this pain? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Shin Splints
I’m an active runner and have been experiencing pain in my shins. If I stop training, it goes away but comes back as soon as I resume my running activities. Am I suffering from shin splints? If so, what can I do to treat them other than rest? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Piriformis Syndrome
I’m a runner, and lately I’ve been experiencing pain radiating down the back of my leg. It hurts worse when I sit or climb stairs. What is causing this? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome (ITBS)
I’m a semi-active cyclist, more of a weekend warrior, really. I have been experiencing sharp burning pain on the outside of my left knee, and even occasionally in both knees. What is causing this pain? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Basketball Injuries in the Female Athlete:
I’ve heard that female basketball players are more frequently injured than their male counterparts. Is there any truth in that? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Aging and Basketball Injuries:
I’m a 40-something who still enjoys playing competitive basketball. In my advancing years, should I be worried about any increased health risks from playing this demanding sport? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Stretching Before Basketball:
I recently pulled my hamstring during a game even though I stretched thoroughly before playing. Some of my teammates rarely stretch and they don’t seem to get hurt. Does stretching really do any good? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Torn or Damaged Cartilage:
After I play basketball, my left knee swells considerably. With ice and rest it mostly goes away, but the swelling comes right back when I play again. What causes this? Is there anything I can do about it? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

ACL Tears:
While playing basketball last week, I felt a “pop” in my knee when planting my foot. I now have a considerable swelling and the knee feels unstable. Do I have ligament damage? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Jumper’s Knee:
When I take a jump shot, drive to the basket, or jump to grab a rebound, I often feel a sharp pain behind my kneecap. What causes this? How can it be treated? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Tags