Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections
PRP is “platelet-rich plasma.” This is also known as autologous blood concentrate (APC). Platelets are a specialized type of blood cell that are involved with injury healing. With PRP injections, a concentrated platelet solution is injected into the injured area to stimulate healing.
PRP works by recreating and stimulating the body’s natural healing processes. Since human platelets are naturally rich in connective tissue growth factor, injecting these growth factors into damaged ligaments and tendons stimulates a natural repair process. In order to benefit from these natural healing proteins, the platelets must first be concentrated.
PRP can be performed in an outpatient surgery center facility. First, blood is drawn form the patient and placed in a special centrifuge, where the blood is spun down. During this process the platelets are separated from the red blood cells and are concentrated. The red blood cells are then discarded and the remaining platelet concentrate is used for treatment.
During the time the blood is spinning in the centrifuge, the painful area is injected with a local anesthetic such as lidocaine. Once the area is anesthetized, the concentrated growth factors are injected with ultrasound guidance into the area of injury. The entire treatment takes approximately 30-40 minutes.
For the first week after the injections it is critical to avoid anti-inflammatories such as Advil, Motrin, ibuprofen, Aleve, Celebrex, Mobic, etc. Also, patients are to avoid using ice on the treated area. These will interfere with the healing response.
Tylenol may be used for pain relief. Patients may be placed into a cam walker or soft cast for 3-4 days after the injection. Generally, patients may return to normal gym activities in 3-4 weeks after the treatment. Typically, after the initial treatment, patients are seen for a follow up in 6-8 weeks. Some patients respond very well after just one treatment. However, usually 1-3 treatments are necessary.
Improvement of 80-85% is suggested by most studies. Some patients experience complete relief in their pain and the results are generally permanent!!
Foot Conditions that are effectively treated with PRP
- Achilles tendonosis
- Plantar fasciitis
- Ankle sprains
- Posterior tibial tendonitis
- Ligament tears
- Non-healing fractures
PRP works best for chronic ligament and tendon sprains/strains that have failed other conservative treatment. It can also be used for bone healing, wounds, and many other soft tissue injuries in the foot/ankle that may not be mentioned above.
For more information or to schedule an appointment at our South Plainfield/Edison or Warren offices, please call Ankle & Foot Specialist of N.J. at (908) 222-8980.