Groundbreaking Science: Healing Feet with Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy
Posted by Jenn F. on Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
The frontier of science is always an exciting place. That’s where the God particle lives, where new species are discovered, and where revolutionary new cures emerge. Platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) is one such innovation: something that may change foot science for many years to come. This new treatment is a product of the field of “orthobiologics,” a field that merges cutting edge technology with the body’s own in-grown healing mechanisms: harnessing and controlling our powerful healing—directing it where we need it most.
Our ability to heal has evolved over millions of years. What scientists now realize is that they’re not likely to find a better solution in ten, twenty, or even two hundred. Nature is ingenious in a way humans just can’t be. Humans can do incredible things, but millions of years of evolutionary pressures put us in our place—time and time again. Our techniques work best when they work with biological systems, tinkering with the machinery of our bodies to speed up processes that happen naturally. Enter: PRP.
Blood is made of red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets. As we have learned more about blood’s component parts and what they do, exciting facts have revealed themselves. It turns out platelets, already known to be responsible for blood clotting, are also responsible for releasing growth factors. Growth factors do many things throughout the body, including accelerating wound healing. It would follow logically then that a collection of carefully selected growth factors from platelets could dramatically speed healing after injury and surgery. And what if they could also help repair arthritic damage in overused joints? The possibilities are exciting and only just beginning to be thoroughly explored.
Right now in podiatry PRP is primarily being used to treat tendon injury. Tendons are the structures that attach muscle to bone. Tendon injuries like Achilles tendonitis, can be chronic and difficult to treat. Rather than providing temporary pain and inflammation relief with cortisone injections (a treatment that shows limited returns over time) PRP injections actually treat the underlying injury. The patient’s own blood is used to prepare the growth factor platelet cocktail which is then injected directly into the source of the patient’s pain.
In many cases of foot or ankle injury, injection with PRP should be followed by a period of immobility so that the injury site has time to reap the benefits of the treatment. Treatment may require more than one injection. If you have a chronic tendon injury (or think you might) visit The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) for a consult. PRP may be a good option for you.
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.