Just a few years ago, people suffering from chronic tendon and ligament pain faced limited options. They could comply with a long and slow conservative treatment protocol that kept them off their feet in the hopes of improving. Or, they could opt for surgery, which could provide a more predictable outcome, but still had to be followed by a long period of immobilization and recovery. Today, individuals enduring chronic soft tissue pain have greater choice in treatment options. These innovations include stem cell therapy, AmnioFix® therapy and Platelet-rich Plasma therapy – all classified as regenerative treatments that accelerate natural healing while reducing inflammation to the injured area. Professional athletes have long demonstrated the effectiveness and success of regenerative medicine, and its benefits are finally becoming more accessible to the general public.
What is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy?
Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy is a groundbreaking non-surgical treatment procedure that relieves pain by naturally advancing the healing of musculoskeletal conditions. The procedure was used as early as the 1990s in maxillofacial and plastic surgery. Since those early pioneering days, this treatment method has exploded in popularity among professional athletes, representing sports like football, basketball, soccer, baseball, running, boxing and more. Many of these athletes have credited PRP injections for their quick recoveries and return to activity.
Platelet-Rich Plasma comes from your own blood. After being drawn, it is spun in a centrifuge and separated into different components – red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. The separation makes it possible to extract a “rich” (high) concentration of platelets and plasma, hence its name. Platelets are key for two reasons:
- they are responsible for blood clotting, which stops bleeding
- they contain growth factors – special proteins that stimulate healing and tissue growth
The Science behind PRP Therapy
The blood that runs through your circulatory system is known as whole blood, a mixture of about 55 percent plasma and 45 percent blood cells.
Whenever an individual experiences an injury, the body’s natural response is to deliver platelets to the affected area. The platelets get to work by clotting blood (in cases of internal or external bleeding) and accelerating the repair of damaged tissue (through the growth factors).
In PRP therapy, the concentrated platelet-rich injection is administered directly to the injured tendon, ligament or joint. This amplifies the body’s own biological response, providing a boost to the healing and repair processes that are already underway.
Platelets Rich Plasma Therapy in Podiatry
Years of research and many clinical studies have demonstrated that PRP injections have been successful in restoring function and reducing pain across a range of various musculoskeletal conditions throughout the body. In podiatry, PRP therapy has been effective in treating common injuries, including ankle sprains, Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis.
Notably, PRP therapy is also effective in the treatment of multiple types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis and Psoriatic arthritis, because it stimulates the healing of cartilage and reduces pain and disability.
In cases of mild arthritis, PRP treatment can prevent further degeneration of the joints. In more advanced cases, the goal of PRP treatment is to reduce pain and improve the functionality of the affected joint(s).
Advantages of Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
Patients living with chronic sift tissue pain, including joint pain, should ask about PRP therapy for the following reasons:
- Extracted PRP is from patient’s own body (autologous). It is natural, has minimal injection risk, and is non-immunogenic.
- The healing effect of treatment is accelerated, and can typically be seen within a few weeks. PRP treatment is also proven to have lasting results.
- Ultrasound and MRI images can be used to monitor definitive tissue repair and the overall healing process.
At Houston Foot and Ankle Care, we stay on the leading edge of innovative care and proudly offer regenerative therapies like Platelet-rich treatment. Don’t assume that your physical activities have to hit an “expiration date” or that degenerative conditions are just a part of growing older. Schedule an appointment with top Houston podiatrist Dr. Maislos to learn more about how PRP therapy can help you heal, restore normal function or reduce chronic pain.