PRP Injection Therapy
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What is PRP Injection Therapy?
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections are a relatively new treatment in musculoskeletal medicine and appears to be growing in popularity. It is a form of regeneratve medicine meaning that it promotes biological tissue healing. PRP injection therapy involves taking a patient’s own blood (usually from the arm) and placing the blood into a special machine (centrifuge) to separate different components of the blood. This allows the clinician to use concentrated levels of platelets and growth factors found in the blood sample which is then injected at the site of injury to promote healing in injured plantar fascia tissue. Regarding the way in which PRP works, some laboratory studies have demonstrated that the increased concentration of growth factors in PRP are able to augment the body’s natural healing process.
Does it Work?
There have been a number of published studies comparing PRP injections with corticosteroid injections. The majority of studies demonstrate superiority of PRP injections over corticosteroid injections in the long term (>6 months) but there does not appear to be a significant difference between them in the short term. There are lots of variables to consider when interpreting the results of clinical studies, including the concentration of platelets in the blood injection, which varies widely due to the capabilities of different centrifuge machines. If you would like learn more about the research check out the article in my blog here
PRP is not generally considered to have any major harmful effects because apart from a patient’s own blood, no other constituents are added to the injection. For that reason, it is popular with patients who want more of a ‘natural approach’ to dealing with their injuries. There is a small risk of infection as with any injection therapy
The theory behind PRP injection therapy makes this an attractive treatment option for chronic plantar fasciitis that has not responded to usual conservative treatment. As it is a form of regenerative medicine, it does not come with potential harmful affects. Currently there is a lack of high-quality evidence to be sure on the true efficacy of this treatment and as such I tend to recommend other treatment options over PRP injections as a preference. For now, this remains a 'watch this space' treatment and certainly an option worth considering before surgical intervention as it is less invasive and comes with minimal risks.
I currently do not offer this treatment option but if you are interested in this treatment get in touch and I will advise on a recognised provider in your local area.