Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy
If you’re a sports fan, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve at least heard the term platelet-rich plasma therapy, or PRP.
Over the last ten to twenty years, top-tier professional athletes have used it to make dramatic recoveries in what seems to be an incredibly short period of time—sometimes half of what you might expect given the type and severity of the injury.
Well, PRP isn’t just for superstar athletes and millionaire celebrities. In fact, you can get the same advanced treatment for your painful soft tissue injury right at our San Jose podiatry office.
What Is Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy?
PRP is an advanced biologic medicine treatment that harnesses the natural healing potential of your own blood to rapidly accelerate the healing process.
In addition to fluid plasma, red blood cells (which carry oxygen), and white blood cells (which fight disease), your blood also contains tiny cellular fragments called platelets.
These platelets are best known for their role in clotting and closing wounds, but that’s not their only job. They’re also packed with growth factors—proteins that play a vital role in stimulating cellular growth, healing, and regeneration.
In PRP therapy, your body’s own platelets are used to rapidly enhance the healing process and help you rebound faster from soft tissue injuries and inflammation.
What Kinds of Injuries Can Be Treated With PRP?
PRP is a great choice for most types of inflammatory soft tissue pain—tendons, muscles, ligaments, etc. In our office, we use it a lot to treat conditions such as plantar fasciitis (heel pain), Achilles tendinitis, ankle sprains, and pulled muscles.
Crucially, PRP is often effective at treating these injuries even after they become chronic, and when no other conservative treatments have helped. Previously, these cases might have been recommended for surgery. Now, we can try PRP first, and that usually corrects the problem.
What Is the Treatment Process?
During your appointment, we will draw a small vial of blood from your body.
That blood is then spun rapidly in a device called a centrifuge, which separates out all the various components of blood—plasma, blood cells, and platelets.
Once the plasma and the platelets have been isolated, we can recombine them to create a platelet-rich plasma solution, with a concentration of platelets significantly higher than normal. That platelet-rich plasma is then injected back into your body, right at the site of the injured tissues.
Most of the time, only one treatment is needed. In some circumstances, one or two follow-up appointments may be necessary.
What Kind of Results Can I Expect?
There’s a reason this treatment is popular with athletes and celebrities. It’s convenient, but more importantly it works.
- It’s quick. The treatment itself lasts only about 20 minutes. From the moment you walk in the door to the moment you leave, you’ll probably be here less than an hour. Most people only need one injection, though more serious injuries may require follow-up treatments.
- It’s effective. About 85 percent of patients report improvement in their symptoms after PRP therapy. PRP is highly successful at treating chronic soft tissue injuries, and accelerating healing times versus traditional conservative treatments alone.
- It’s long-lasting. Unlike steroid injections or over-the-counter painkillers, PRP is not just treating the symptoms. It triggers cellular regeneration and repair, so the pain relief is permanent.
- It’s safe. Because the treatment simply uses your own cellular material to stimulate natural healing processes, it is very safe. You may experience minor discomfort around the injection site, but otherwise side effects are extremely rare.
If nagging chronic pain or a recent sports injury are troubling your feet or ankles, PRP may be an excellent treatment choice—though of course, we’ll perform a comprehensive examination before making our full recommendations.
To schedule an appointment with one of the doctors at SVPG, please give us a call at (408) 358-2666.