1) What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)?
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is made from 2 components: plasma (liquid portion of your blood) and platelets. Platelets are made in the bone marrow and circulate throughout your blood. They are small cells and are well known for clotting, however they are also very important for inflammation, regeneration and healing. If you sprained your foot or ankle, platelets are one of the first cells to arrive and are responsible for healing your injury.
2) How is PRP made?
The procedure is very easy. PRP is made from your own blood; it is your own cells that we are using! After drawing your blood, it is spun down in a special centrifuge. At Flex Foot and Ankle PLLC, Dr. Perez uses the Angel System from Arthrex. This machine uses the principle of flow cytometry or light absorption by cells to ensure platelet concentrations of up to 18x the baseline (normal count). Once the blood has been spun down, we get 3 cc’s (.10 ounces) of platelet rich plasma that is now ready to be injected.
3) What can I expect during my PRP treatment?
After your blood is drawn and it is spun down we will obtain 3 cc’s (.10 ounces) of platelet rich plasma. At Flex Foot and Ankle PLLC, Dr. Perez uses ultrasound guidance to identify the exact area of injury. Local anesthesia is then injected and once anesthetized, the PRP is injected. Once completed, you can ambulate in a CAM boot.
3) When does PRP work?
Injuries of the foot and ankle occur often. Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries but any ligament or tendon injury, such as the achilles tendon, can be treated with PRP. Studies now show the benefits of PRP in tendons, ligaments and muscles as it speeds healing after an injury. Many different medical specialties are also using PRP for different body parts. In the foot and ankle, PRP can be helpful in acute injuries as well as chronic injuries. Effects can be felt as soon as 2 weeks but can take up to a month.
4) Is PRP safe?
Since PRP is made from your own blood, it is safe to use without any adverse effects. As with anything, there are some contraindications to PRP (Low platelet count, infection, bleeding disorder, anti-coagulation therapy, etc.). But overall, PRP is safe to use. Since platelets are the cells that cause inflammation by releasing their chemicals, some patients may experience discomfort during delivery which is the reason we inject local anesthesia first.
5) Is PRP right for me?
It is very important to have a proper diagnoses. At Flex Foot and Ankle PLLC Dr. E. Giannin Perez, a fellowship trained dual board certified Podiatric Foot and Ankle Specialist in Midtown, Manhattan can help you arrive at that diagnoses. The indications for PRP are any ligament, muscle or tendon trauma in the foot and ankle. Once Dr. Perez, has determined the reason for your pain, a treatment plan can be developed. If PRP is right for you, the treatment consists of a series of 3 injections every 2-3 weeks.
PRP was the right choice for Dr. Perez when she injured her lisfranc’s ligament (an important structure in the midfoot) during salsa practice. Dr. Perez self performed a PRP injection and after some time in a CAM boot, she was back to salsa dancing in heels and running.
6) PRP in the news
Recently Karl-Anthony Towns from the Minnesota Timberwolves received PRP treatments in both knees, left ankle and wrist in order to prevent further injuries and avoid surgery.
Minnesota Timberwolves star center Karl-Anthony Towns underwent stem cell treatment and platelet-rich plasma injections in both knees, his left ankle, left wrist and right finger on Friday, sources told ESPN.
Towns played through his injuries during the Timberwolves’ run to the Western Conference playoffs and decided to get these treatments in the offseason with the hopes of avoiding surgery and making a full recovery by training camp.
Towns, according to sources, was dealing with pain in both knees, especially his right knee, which he wore a sleeve on during the playoffs. He also had a cyst in his left ankle, a subluxated left wrist with ligament damage and an aggravated joint on the middle finger of his right (shooting) hand.
Towns’ girlfriend, Jordyn Woods, posted a photo of him recovering from the procedures on her Instagram story Saturday.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Perez and see if PRP is the right treatment for your foot and ankle pain
See you soon!