5 Reasons Why PRP Therapy Is a Blessing for Foot & Ankle Injuries
Posted by Jenn F. on Wednesday, April 15th, 2015
A fascinating medical treatment with myriad uses, Platelet-Rich Plasma injections use your own blood, spun in a centrifuge to create a denser concentration of healing stem cell platelets, and inject it at the site of injury. The many applications are still being investigated–among them restoring hair, giving an aging face a lift, and reducing pain–but one thing is clear: PRP works for soft tissue recovery. Here at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC, we have been using PRP therapy for the past several years with excellent results.
5 Reasons Why We Love PRP Therapy for the Foot & Ankle:
While there is much to love about Platelet-Rich Plasma, here are five reasons we love this therapy:
1. We can overcome the challenges of poor blood flow in the lower extremities.
As InnerBody.com points out: “Blood flowing through the veins of the lower limbs is under very little pressure and must fight the pull of gravity to return to the heart. To combat this blood flow problem, veins contain many one-way valves, which permit blood to flow only toward the heart.” On top of the normal mechanisms, many patients are suffering from undiagnosed peripheral artery disease, diabetes, and hypertension, which also contribute to poor circulation in lower limbs. Platelet-Rich Plasma stimulates activity and circulation at the injury site, which brings healing oxygen and materials.
2. We have a great alternative to cortisone shots.
In the past, some sports doctors used cortisone shots as a panacea for acute pain. Corticosteroid shots stop the inflammatory process, diminishing swelling and removing pain. However, they are also a mechanism to break up collagen bonds. Since the Achilles tendon is one big cable of collagen, you can see how cortisone could actually work against natural healing and lead to a greater likelihood of rupture. By contrast, PRP works in quite the opposite way, to concentrate growth factors, stimulate blood flow, and prompt healing of the micro-torn tendon.
3. We can help unresponsive patients avoid surgery.
Conservative interventions for soft tissue injuries include immobilization, physical therapy, ice, ibuprofen and orthotics. In addition to shockwave treatment, PRP therapy is another non-invasive, relatively painless way to treat soft tissue injuries without surgery, though a very small percentage of people will still require surgical removal of obstacles to healing, like bone spurs or scar tissue. There are also severe cases, where the tendon has been completely shredded and ruptured, that will still require surgery to reattach the frayed ends. Yet we find an injection of healing properties is “just what the doctor ordered” for most patients with Achilles problems or plantar fasciitis, rather than more invasive surgical options.
4. We can treat chronic ulcers.
PRP, used in conjunction with a skin graft or biological skin substitute, can help patients with chronic, non-healing ulcers. One study found a 95% healing rate within five weeks when chronic ulcer patients were treated with platelet-rich plasma. Case studies demonstrate that patients with a past history of failed grafting have better luck the second time around when the PRP therapy is added.
5. We can treat patients naturally.
Many of our patients have expressed interest in treating their conditions without medication, which we are happy to oblige. We had already been using biopuncture to treat a number of foot and ankle injuries, so it wasn’t much of a stretch to add PRP therapy to the menu of options. Biopuncture is not recommended for use in fracture healing, though, while PRP is.
The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine specializes in the use of platelet-rich plasma to treat arthritis, Achilles tendon injuries, plantar fasciitis, and fractures, so contact us if you live in the Manhattan or White Plains area of New York to inquire about this modern therapy, and experience for yourself the many benefits it provides.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.