Platelet-rich plasma has many different orthopaedic uses
One of the newest treatments for various orthopaedic problems and injuries ranging from sprained knees to chronic tendon injuries is platelet-rich plasma, or PRP. It is now being used to treat:
- Achilles tendonitis
- Jumper’s knee
- Acute ligament and muscle injuries (e.g., pulled hamstring, knee sprains)
- Knee arthritis
The treatment is even used in some surgical procedures.
Blood is mainly a liquid called plasma, as well as solid components that include red cells, white cells, and platelets. The platelets are best known for their importance in clotting blood, and also contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors that are very important in the healing of injuries.
PRP is plasma with many more platelets than are typically found in blood. The higher concentration of growth factors can potentially speed up the healing process. PRP can be injected into the injured area. For example, with Achilles tendonitis, a condition seen commonly in tennis players and runners, the heel cord becomes swollen, inflamed and painful. A mixture of PRP and anesthetic is injected directly into the inflamed tissue. PRP can also be given after surgery for some injuries. A torn heel cord may need to be surgically repaired, and healing possibly improved with PRP that is stitched into the torn tissues.