PRP for Foot and Ankle Injuries
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)?
Platelets are tiny blood cells that are created inside your body and are what enables your blood to clot when you injure yourself. Platelets contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors, which are a vital part of your body’s healing process. Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) is plasma that contains more platelets than what is typically found in blood. In fact, this concentration of platelets and growth factors in it may be five to 10 times greater than usual. PRP therapy in podiatry for foot and ankle conditions can be successful for some conditions, but certainly not all. A knowledgeable foot and ankle surgeon will know what conditions it is a good treatment option for.
What are the Goals of PRP Therapy?
The main goal of PRP injections is to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. By doing so, PRP works to reduce inflammation as well as heal tendon, ligament and tissue damage. PRP therapy seeks to not only reduce symptoms but to create healing. As a result, PRP therapy may decrease patients’ dependence on pain medications over time.
What Foot and Ankle Conditions Can PRP Therapy Treat?
PRP injections are used to treat the following foot and ankle conditions:
- Arthritis (inflammation of joints)
- Chronic Plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the heel)
- Tendonitis (inflammation of tendons)
- Sprains (torn ligaments)
- Strains (torn tendons)
- Plantar fascia tear (tissue tear in the heel)
Am I a Good Candidate for PRP Therapy?
The ideal candidate for PRP therapy is someone who has arthritis or a tendon, ligament, or tissue injury. Oftentimes, patients also want to try PRP if they have failed to heal with other treatments and physical therapy. PRP is also used post-surgery for both foot and ankle surgeries to accelerate recovery, or where recovery is not progressing as desired.
How is PRP Therapy Performed?
A small amount of a patient’s blood is drawn and placed in a machine called a centrifuge that quickly spins and separates the platelets from other components in the blood. The platelets are then re-injected into the affected area of the body. Consequently, the growth factors cause the body to naturally heal itself.
What Can I Expect After PRP Therapy?
General pain and discomfort may be experienced for several days following a PRP injection. For most, post-treatment pain is minimal. Also, depending on the patient’s situation, they may be asked to avoid weight-bearing activities, so that the healing process may begin. Additionally, patients may be asked to wear a boot, brace or cast for a short amount of time following an injection. Most patients can slowly resume their normal activities within a few days following a PRP therapy treatment.
Are you considering PRP therapy as a treatment option for an ankle or foot injury? Please consider Dr. Jeffrey McAlister, DPM, FACFAS, as your fellowship-trained foot and ankle surgeon. Dr. McAlister specializes in the use of PRP therapy as an advanced treatment option for foot and ankle pain and injuries. Contact us at (602) 955-5700.