Platelet Rich Plasma Injections
When treating painful foot and ankle conditions, steroid injections have been a staple for immediate relief. However, steroid injections can only be given in a certain area a few times, otherwise further damage could occur including tissue atrophy and possible tendon rupture. Plus, some patients are allergic to certain steroid injection components and cannot receive this type of direct anti-inflammatory. We now have an alternative to steroid injections. And it all comes from you.
We are now able to perform platelet rich plasma injections, also known as PRP, right in the office.
Platelets contain healing growth factors and this concentration of platelets used for an injection can contain FIVE TIMES or more the usual amount of growth factors.
Platelet rich plasma therapy works to reduce inflammation and pain by injecting your body’s own platelets into a targeted area to help heal the area with your body’s own cells. Platelets are the “fixer-upper” cells of the body. They are the first line of response when you have an injury. They form a clot and release growth factor proteins to signal the body to heal. This allows the pain to decrease rapidly as it facilitates the reduction in inflammation and heals the tissues.
PRP can speed up healing of soft tissues and can have more of a long-term healing effect compared to steroid injections, which do not contribute to tissue healing outside of the anti-inflammatory effect.
PRP has been used for over 20 years for musculoskeletal conditions. It is now more widely used in sports medicine to speed up healing and return the athlete to activity more quickly. PRP can be used for acute and chronic conditions including peroneal tendonitis, posterior tibial tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, ankle ligament sprains, and osteoarthritis. PRP is especially helpful in injuries which are particularly slow healing or immediately following an acute injury.
It is especially helpful if you’ve been told you need surgery. This may allow you to prevent a surgical procedure. This will also promote healing post-surgically. This will minimize your downtime and speedy up your recovery process.
PRP if not recommended for patients who:
- have metastatic disease
- have a tumor
- have an active infection
- have a low platelet count
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
The process involves drawing the patient’s blood in the office, placing the blood in a centrifuge and then drawing off the platelet concentration. The platelet concentration is then injected in and around the affected area with ultrasound guidance. We typically immobilize the patient with a boot and/or crutches for two weeks until re-evaluation.
Most patients will have increased pain initially, but this typically resolves in a few hours to a few days after the injection. Use of ice and Tylenol after injection can be used as needed for pain as you are not recommended to use NSAIDs, as with this injection we are relying on your body’s natural inflammatory response to help heal the tissues.