The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Platelet-Rich Plasma: The Benefits and Drawbacks of This Innovative Treatment

Posted by on Monday, November 17th, 2014

Platelet-Rich Plasma treatment has been in the headlines as used by injured sports players from Tiger Woods and Hines Ward to Kobe Bryant and Rafael Nadal. Patients who come in to our sports medicine clinic with similar overuse injuries are often curious about PRP therapy, but have the misconception that it must be so expensive that only elite athletes can afford it. The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC offers this innovative treatment to sufferers of Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and other injuries that are traditionally considered “stubborn to heal.”

platelet rich plasma
Platelet rich plasma injections awaken the body’s natural healing abilities. Image Source: Wikimedia.org

Why Platelet-Rich Plasma?

These days, we are finding many of the most successful treatments are the most minimally invasive–the ones that prompt the body to get back on track and do its thing. Platelet-rich plasma involves taking a patient’s own blood, spinning it in a centrifuge to separate the platelets, and injecting the enriched blood back into the body, at the site of the injury. The spun plasma has an increased percentage of growth factors, which aids and speeds healing of damaged bone and soft tissue. The risk of side effects is very low because there is nothing artificial–just one’s own serum. Sports players of all genres routinely choose PRP over medication, physical therapy, and surgery to avoid complications and long recovery times.

Who Can Benefit from Platelet-Rich Plasma?

We’ve seen great results with PRP injections for osteoarthritis patients. One recent study found that PRP helped regenerate cartilage and prevent the breakdown of additional cartilage in 73 percent of patients. At the six-month and one-year marks, patients reported improvements in stiffness, pain, function, and daily life. It’s too soon to tell whether PRP will be widely recommended for preventive measures, but the preliminary findings are encouraging.

If you have been suffering from an injury for a long time, PRP therapy could help. Some of the most successful applications have been for:

– Tennis elbow

– Patellar tendon injury

– Rotator cuff tears

– Plantar fasciiti

– Trochanteris bursitis

– Knee osteoarthritis, and

– Low back pain.

Are There Any Drawbacks?

While clinical practice has yielded great results on a small scale, larger studies have been inconsistent. Insurance companies still consider PRP to be “experimental” and do not cover the cost, which can range from $300 to $800. There are no guarantees that PRP will help you avoid surgery for good, and it is not without discomfort. The injection site stings like a tetanus shot, and the soreness persists for a few weeks.

Platelet-Rich Plasma in NYC

Our NYC sports medicine centers in Manhattan and Westchester offer patients in need the latest innovations to get them functioning pain-free as quickly and effectively as possible. Schedule a consultation with our medical experts to see if this minimally invasive treatment could benefit your situation. In addition to PRP, we also offer shockwave therapy, biopuncture, physical therapy, surgical interventions, cortisone shots, gait analysis, and lifestyle suggestions to make your pain more manageable. We are committed to determining the root cause of your suffering and helping you through it by using the best practices and technology available.

If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. 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.