Accelerate Healing Naturally with PRP
Athletes are some of the earliest adopters of new and innovative technologies, and for good reason – getting the edge on your competition can have huge benefits for both you and your athletic career. Unfortunately, nothing has been invented yet that makes you 100% injury-proof.
The ideal treatment for any injury or illness is effective, inexpensive, safe, and immediately available. Traditionally, athletes sidelined by an injury may be given the choice to either sit out for weeks (or months) to heal or go under the knife to fix the problem – neither of which is particularly desirable.
But what if there was a third option that was both safe, quick, and effective to speed up your recovery? Enter PRP.
What is PRP?
Blood is a liquid (plasma) that contains red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes), and platelets (thrombocytes). While platelets are best known for clotting blood, they also contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors, which are incredibly important in the body’s healing process. By isolating and removing the platelets from a blood sample, we are able to artificially increase the levels of platelet-rich plasma found in the injured area by 5-10x, amplifying the healing process in the surrounding tissue.
TLDR: PRP is blood plasma that contains a high platelet concentration
How does PRP work?
To create the PRP for treatment, our doctors start by drawing a small blood sample from the patient. The sample is then placed in a centrifuge for a "spin" to isolate the different layers. This allows us to easily extract just the platelets and plasma, and discard the rest of the blood components. Once a small amount of plasma is added to the platelets, the injectable PRP is ready to be carefully injected into the injured area.
What kind of conditions can PRP help?
Research has shown that orthobiologic treatments like PRP injections have the potential to help a wide range of patients recover from orthopedic injuries quickly. Sports injuries and tendon injuries like tennis elbow, ACL tears, rotator cuff tears, and iliotibial band syndrome can all be effectively treated with PRP. Other conditions, like ankle sprains and jumper's/runner's knee, can potentially be treated with orthobiologics as well. In addition, PRP has been reported to have an anti-inflammatory response when used for osteoarthritis, helping patients improve their pain, stiffness, and physical function.
How many treatments are necessary?
While responses to PRP treatments vary, most people will experience significant improvement in symptoms after only one injection. In severe cases, a follow-up injection may be needed. Each set of treatments is spaced approximately 6 to 12 weeks apart. There is no limit to the number of treatments you can have – the risks and side effects do not change with the number of injections.
How long until I can return to play after using PRP?
PRP therapy helps you heal, but it is not a miracle drug nor a quick fix. This therapy stimulates the growth and repair of tendons and ligaments, which then need time and rehabilitation to fully heal. Through regular visits, your provider will work with you to determine the right time to return to sports based on repeat exams.
If you have a tendon or ligament injury and traditional methods have not provided relief, then PRP therapy may be the solution you’ve been waiting for. Give us a call at 703.444.5000 to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists here at Arthritis & Sports, or request an appointment online. To stay up-to-date on the latest news and tips from us, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and sign up for our monthly newsletter!