Science and research are constantly giving us new information and methods of treatment for an increasing variety of injuries. In recent decades, a treatment called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy began to be used to aid in recovering from certain injuries and surgical procedures. Originally used for blood transfusions to those who had low platelet counts, the procedure was quickly picked up for use during surgical procedures due to its multiple regenerative properties.
Since the 1990s, PRP has been used in healing wounds, reducing inflammation, scarring, skin grafting, connective tissue repair, and more. Thanks to its many benefits, PRP has gained popularity in many arenas, including sports medicine and regenerative medicine. In this blog, the providers at North Central Foot & Ankle delve into some more details about PRP so you can make an informed decision with your doctor as to whether it’s right for treating your injury.
Blood consists of four main components: plasma, platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells. The blood that runs through your body dispersing nutrients, moving waste to your kidneys and liver, and transporting antibodies and cells to fight infection is called whole blood. Whole blood is made up of approximately 55 percent plasma and 45 percent blood cells. Further, you have platelet-rich plasma and platelet-poor plasma.
When you get PRP therapy, your doctor begins by taking some of your blood. Your blood is then put through a machine called a centrifuge to separate the platelet-rich plasma from the rest of it. The remaining platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the injured area, often with the help of an ultrasound.
Your doctor may also use a numbing agent, like a topical solution, or mix a local anesthetic with the PRP to ease any discomfort. Multiple injections may be necessary depending on the area you’re treating.
PRP therapy is thought to have many healing properties, the main one being that it helps stimulate your body to grow healthy, new cells. Assisting with the production of new cells can speed up recovery time, as well as the quality of healing.
Some conditions that PRP is often used to treat include tendon injuries like Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, joint injuries, pain caused by arthritis, and sports injuries. This procedure is often performed in tandem with surgery.
PRP is quick, taking only about 30 minutes. Most people are able to return to their daily routine right away, though you should avoid washing the treated area for the first 48 hours afterward. Just like any procedure, you do run the risk of side effects. However, they are typically mild, and your doctor works closely with you to help minimize the risks. These can include:
Our expert providers at our offices in Decatur and Roanoke, Texas, offer PRP therapy as a treatment option, though it’s usually done in the operating room and not in our office. If this is something you’re interested in discussing with your podiatrist, contact one of our offices to schedule an appointment. Better healing is closer than you think with the help of North Central Texas Foot & Ankle!