What is PRP?
PRP, or Platelet-Rich Plasma, is blood plasma that has been centrifuged to concentrate the platelets. This concentration contains several different growth factors and cytokines (small molecules used in tissue regeneration) that stimulate healing of bone and soft tissue.
PRP therapy is based on local delivery of a highly concentrated volume of platelets at the site of some musculoskeletal injury. When activated, (typically with collagen or thrombin), these platelets release various critical growth factors involved in healing.
When is PRP Used?
PRP has historically been used in maxillofacial surgery, plastic surgery, and in open heart surgery. There has been a recent surge in the orthopedic specialties to improve bone healing and accelerate soft tissue healing as well.
This concentrate can be injected into tissues to promote healing. Platelet-Rich Plasma has been investigated and used as clinical tool for several types of injuries in the foot and ankle, including: nerve injury, tendinitis, osteoarthritis, and bone repair and regeneration. PRP has also received attention in the popular media as a result of its use in treating sports injuries in professional athletes.
How is PRP Injected?
This procedure is typically done in the Operating Room Suite under local or regional anesthesia. Blood is taken from your arm and the platelets are removed. Your body’s own platelets are then injected back into the plantar fascia, Achilles’ tendon, or surgical site. This provides greater healing potential for chronic injuries or aids in surgical recovery.
The known actions of platelet-derived factors suggest that PRP may have significant potential in the treatment of pathological conditions of cartilage, tendon, ligament, and muscle. The growth factors in PRP are activated and begin working within 10 minutes of the injection.
If you are suffering from an acute or chronic soft tissue injury, like the ones mentioned above, contact one of the doctors at Academy Foot and Ankle Specialists to see if PRP injections may be right for you.