Utilizing PRP treatment or platelet rich plasma (PRP) for the treatment of plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinosis around the foot and ankle is a fairly new and developing concept. PRP is believed to help the chronic scar formations and loss of inflammatory response that is often associated with plantar fasciosis and tendinosis.
According to the University Foot and Ankle Institute (UFAI), other treatments for Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis usually involve cortisone injections. Unfortunately, the cortisone injections do not help much. Because these types of injuries do not have an inflammatory process, the injections only work by means of trauma from a needle, causing an inflammatory response in the specific area.
How it Works
Rendering UFAI, PRP treatment enhances the healing process in chronic injuries, for they stimulate and restart the inflammatory cascade. The basic principle of the treatment is to jump-start the healing process with plasma (fibrinogen and water). The fibrinogen catches platelets, which are in charge of construction of connective tissue, hemostasis and revascularization. It is the alpha granules in platelets that are comprised of growth factors and clotting. With PRP injections the alpha granules are released, aiding in the healing process.
The UFAI also states that cortisone injections are most helpful during the first or second visit if alternative methods like icing, therapeutic exercises and stretching are not effective. However, when a patient has a lot of scar formation and plantar fascia pain for six months, cortisone is far less significant than PRP injections that restart the inflammatory and healing cascade. In addition, patients receiving PRP treatment and have plantar fasciitis for 6 months need to wear a boot for the first two weeks after injection. The boots help support fascia healing without chronic tension and also allows the growth factors to work without constant trauma.
In other studies, cortisone use has shown adverse reactions, especially in tendons. Instead, newer treatments like platelet rich plasma therapy, dry needling, Topaz therapy (Arthrocare) and prolotherapy are used to increase the inflammation response instead of suppressing it.
Today, PRP treatment is commonly used for all of the major tendons in the foot and ankle, as well as plantar fasciosis and tendinosis. And because the treatment is simple, it is typically done in the office.
The physician may use a local anesthetic while the patient lies in a comfortable position on a flat table. The local anesthetic is in the soft tissue or it can be around the fascia region or tendon if desired. Ultrasound is optional prior to treatment. Although it is not essential, ultrasound gives a visual on more accurate and better placement for injections. It also helps identify areas that have fibrosis and the highest trauma.
When it comes to PRP treatment, you want top-of-the-line care and therapy. At American Foot and Leg Specialists, we have over 100 years of combined experience and always maintain the highest levels of accreditation. In truth, the American Foot and Leg Specialists provide unsurpassed foot and ankle care including up-to-the-minute surgical procedures, medical treatments for podiatric care and the best diagnostic techniques.
For utmost convenience, American Foot and Leg Specialists have four locations in Georgia: Fayetteville, Forest Park, Locust Grove, and Stockbridge. As well, the physicians at American Foot and Leg Specialists have patients from Atlanta and the South Atlanta Metro area including Clayton, Cobb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton and Henry counties. For any questions or concerns about PRP treatment, contact our professional staff. Our office hours are 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday thru Friday.