We depend a lot on our ankles, so it can be frustrating when they aren’t performing the way that we are used to. While this is true for anyone who is being prevented from doing the activities he or she loves, it’s almost unbearable for an athlete who is having to sit out of the game. It’s like a New York Ranger with no stick, a Yankee player with no bat, or a ballerina with no stage. It just doesn’t feel right.
If you are experiencing chronic and severe ankle pain, you probably want to get it resolved as quickly as possible, and we certainly want to help you in that endeavor. Unfortunately, sometimes surgeries and other treatment methods fall short of fixing a foot or ankle issue. Thanks to advances in technology, though, you don’t have to give up hope for resolution with these traditional options fall short.
Several new strategies for eliminating ankle issues have entered the medical scene. One of the most often discussed treatment options is called platelet rich plasma treatment. This procedure uses a patient’s own blood to stimulate healing, and it’s been touted by a variety of athletes, from Tiger Woods to Kobe Bryant.
So how does it work? You probably know that platelets are used by the body to form clots when you have an open wound. Recent research has uncovered that platelets can also assist with mending and strengthening damaged tissues by increasing certain growth factors. That’s where platelet rich plasma injections come into play.
During PRP injections, a small amount of blood is drawn from a patient and ran through a centrifuge to separate its elements and concentrate the platelets. This new plasma has up to five times more platelets than the original natural blood that was removed from the body. These concentrated platelets are then loaded into a syringe and injected into the patient and the problem spot. That’s when the healing process begins.
We use PRP injections to treat a wide range of orthopedic issues, including arthritis, tendonitis, ligament sprains or tears, and healing after a tendon or ligament surgery. One of the best things about an injection compared to alternative treatments is its minimally invasive nature. Most patients experience some soreness or inflammation for about two days after an injection, but the procedure itself is performed under local anesthesia with limited pain. Patients can see results in as little as six weeks after a series of injections occurs.
You may have heard about skeptics of PRP. That’s because the treatment is not foolproof. Research is continually being conducted on the technique, and some findings are mixed. However, we are optimistic about PRP possibilities in athletes and others, and we would not place time and energy into the method if we did not feel that it could be valuable. If PRP has come up as an option in your treatment plan, understand that we believe it is worth trying for your situation.
Platelet rich plasma injections are cutting edge. If you have any questions about PRP as an option in your care routine, don’t hesitate to reach out.