What Is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy?
Platelets are small blood cells that help with clotting. Also called thrombocytes, platelets contain growth factors that reduce inflammation, foster new cell growth, and stimulate the body's immune system. Platelets also speed up the overall time it takes for tissue and wound healing.
Platelet-rich plasma therapy is a form of regenerative medicine. Since PRP uses a higher concentration of proteins and nutrients found in the patient's own body, it works using the body's natural ability to heal.
Which Conditions Can Platelet Rich Plasma Injections Treat?
Platelet injections can be used to improve many different foot and ankle complaints, including injuries to the bones, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. PRP injections have been used to treat:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendonitis
- Pain after foot or ankle surgery
- Early partial tendon tears
- Ankle ligament injuries
- Mortons neuroma
- Pulled muscles
- Pain or stiffness in the big toe
- Heel pain
- Chronic degenerative joint disease
How Does the Process Work?
First, we draw a small amount of blood and spin it at high speed to separate the plasma from the red blood cells. This forces a higher concentration of platelets—and three to five times more growth factors—into the plasma, making it more powerful than the blood circulating around the treatment site.
While PRP therapy alone can be effective, patients typically experience more noticeable results when PRP is combined with stem cell injections. Stem cells are extremely potent tissue regenerators and can rapidly replace diseased cells in cartilage, bone, and other tissues throughout the body. Instead of drawing blood, stem cells are harvested from a patient's fat tissue or bone marrow.
Next, we combine the stem cells with the PRP sample into a liquid injection. The injection is administered carefully near the area of injury. Patients may be required to limit weight-bearing or strenuous activities for a day or two after treatment but should be able to return to regular activity by the third day post-therapy. Depending on the specifics of your condition, we may recommend one injection or a series of injections.
What Are the Benefits of PRP and Stem Cell Injections?
- Pain relief. Most patients experience no more than mild irritation near the injection point, which subsides quickly. Patients often report a decrease in pain and inflammation within days of PRP therapy and reduced overall discomfort with each successive treatment.
- Nonsurgical. Much like our laser therapy treatments, this option is suited to patients who are unwilling or unable to undergo invasive procedures for an injury. In some cases, successful PRP therapy could ultimately eliminate the need for surgery.
- Localized. Instead of treating the symptoms of your condition, PRP and stem cell therapy apply the solution directly to the injury site, reducing reliance on long-term pain medications.
- Low infection risk. Injections are minimally invasive and are made from the patient's own blood, making the associated risks of injury or infection far lower than other therapies.
- Faster recovery times. Athletes often use PRP and stem cell therapy after suffering injuries to expedite the healing process, reducing their time away from the game to weeks instead of months.
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