PRP stands for platelet rich plasma, a product derived from the blood. Platelets are one of the components of blood. They aid in clotting and contain special growth factors that help promote tissue healing. Plasma refers to the liquid portion of blood. In PRP, blood is processed to separate the platelets and concentrate them. The concentration is reintroduced to the plasma portion which is injected into a site of injury to spur natural healing processes. The number of platelets in this concentrated sample is about five times the normal concentration, which means there are many more growth factors available to stimulate and support healing.
PRP works by stimulating healing processes at the site of injury. The growth factors contained in PRP promote healing at the specific point of injection while also signaling local and regional cells to begin the tissue repair process.
PRP comes from the patient’s own blood. A small sample of blood is drawn and then placed in a special instrument that separates and concentrates the platelets. Because PRP is derived from the patient, there’s no risk of allergic reaction or “rejection.”
PRP is used to treat an array of injuries. In podiatry, it’s most commonly used to treat tendon injuries and chronic issues like plantar fasciitis, an inflammatory condition that affects the strong, fibrous band (called the plantar fascia) that extends across the bottom of the foot. It can also be used to treat other types of foot and ankle injuries, including soft tissue injuries and osteoarthritis of the foot and ankle joints. Plus, PRP can even be used during surgery to “jump start” the healing process before an incision site is sutured closed. While PRP has applications in podiatry, it’s widely used in other areas of medicine including sports medicine.
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