The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Pain Management: PRP Gains Popularity among Sports Doctors

Posted by on Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Platelet-rich plasma landed in the headlines due to its association with big-name athletes like “Tiger Woods” and “Kobe Bryant,” but it’s still a long way from mainstream. Insurance companies still balk, demanding that scientists provide more compelling “proof” of its efficacy at treating sports injuries, even though we see remarkable results in clinical practice. The Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine in NYC is one of the few places you can go to receive PRP injections, but an article in Pain Medicine News suggests that may soon change as this new treatment gains more widespread popularity.

platelet rich plasma
Platelet rich plasma injections show great promise in pain management over time. Image Source: Wikimedia.org

PRP Demonstrates Value in Treatment of Several Sports Injuries

In our practice, we do not recommend long-term cortisone injections because we feel it is less effective than PRP, and because it weakens the tissues, making a person more prone to re-injury. However, many people are still using this conventional, though outdated treatment since there are not many options for acute pain management in soft tissue injuries. “The great thing about PRP treatment is that it does no harm,” says Dr. Nadia Levy, DPM. Data presented at the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians’ 2014 annual meeting suggests that PRP injections are effective in treating tennis elbow, patellar tendon injury, and rotator cuff tears. Additionally, a few studies have shown PRP may offer benefit for plantar fasciitis, trochanteris bursitis, knee osteoarthritis, and refractory diskogenic low back pain.

Do PRP Treatments Hurt?

Platelet rich plasma treatment uses the body’s own growth factors to encourage the body to begin healing the area treated quickly and effectively. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “Afterwards, the pain at the area of injection may actually increase for the first week or two, and it may be several weeks before the patient feels a beneficial effect.” Essentially, the increase in pressure and aggravation of the tissue does cause some irritation, but the pain does go away, and patients report significant improvement in the months to follow.

Room for More Research

The sports medicine community agrees that there is still more room for research before PRP treatment shows up in every office. Right now, only the most experienced sports medicine doctors are integrating it into their practices. There is still a need for standardization of PRP product characteristics, a cost-benefit analysis, and an explanation for varying results depending on the medical condition, formulation and tissue type treated. Though a few voids exist, there is a general consensus on PRP’s use in treating the aforementioned sports injuries.

NYC Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment

The Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine focus is on bringing patients the latest proven techniques to manage acute pain and heal soft tissues as naturally as possible. While we have experienced sports medicine surgeons on staff, we seek to use the most minimally-invasive strategies first. Often times, when surgery is needed, PRP injections can expedite healing. New patients are welcome to book an appointment in our Manhattan or Westchester office to discuss whether platelet rich plasma may be a viable treatment for their particular sports injury.

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.