PRP for Foot and Ankle Injuries
Introduction: What is PRP?
PRP is an acronym that stands for Platelet-Rich Plasma. As the name indicates, PRP contains a large number of platelets in the plasma. Platelets are small blood cells that serve different purposes in the body. They are mainly involved in blood clots formation to prevent bleeding and repairing damaged blood vessels. They contain numerous proteins known as growth factors which play an important role in the process of injuries healing.
A small volume of blood is drawn from the patient. It is processed by centrifugation, a process that separates out the platelets, concentrating them to many folds ranging from 5 to 10 times greater than the usual measure. These are then injected back to the injured and painful areas to stimulate the healing process.
This is beneficial because it eliminates the need for: surgeries, long physical therapy and cortisone injections.
PRP is prepared from the patient’s own blood. Therefore, no foreign substances and chemicals are injected. The risks of allergic reactions are also minimized.
How Does PRP Work?
After an injury to the soft tissues occurs, the first response by the body is delivering platelet cells to the site of the injury. Since platelets contain the growth factors involved in the healing process, they are required for the initiation of the healing and repair process.
PRP injections deliver a large amount of platelets to the injury site. With a higher concentration of platelets and growth factors, PRP speeds up the natural healing process of the body. PRP also facilitates faster movement of stem cells to the site of injury hence makes the natural healing process more rapid.
Foot and Ankle Injuries
Foot and ankle injuries are quite common. They are mainly attributed to poor sports training, accidents, insufficient warm up or stretching before exercises and being in poor shape. They are even more common with the athletes who are always exercising. PRP has been extremely effective in the management of various foot and ankle injuries.
Tendon injuries such as tendinitis and tendinosis are also common. They involve inflammation of the tendons or injury to soft tissues surrounding the tendons. This makes them inflamed, swollen and painful. They are common with athletes.
Where inflammation is significant, they can be treated with traditional treatment such as anti-inflammatory drugs, ice packs and resting. However, these treatments do not provide long lasting relief. In addition, many tendon injuries lack significant inflammation since the tissues themselves begin to break down making such treatments less effective. Such injuries end up requiring surgeries.
With PRP, it is sometimes possible for patients to avoid surgery altogether. Due to these results, PRP is successful in the management of all types of foot and ankle injuries. Ligament injuries, arthritis, and plantar fasciitis (pain that affects the heel or the bottom of the arch) can also be managed by use of PRP.