Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
What is PRP?
Platelets are pieces of blood cells that play a large role in blood clotting. A small amount of blood is drawn from the patient and then prepared to separate and concentrate the platelets from other blood cells, thereby creating a platelet-rich plasma. The PRP is then injected into an injured area of the body. The PRP contains concentrated growth factors released by the platelets that have been shown to promote tissue healing.
Where is PRP injected and why?
Some uses of PRP in the foot and ankle include:
- Injecting PRP into the Achilles tendon, peroneal tendons, and posterior tibial tendon to treat tendinitis
- Injecting PRP into the plantar fascia to treat plantar fasciitis
- Injecting PRP into the ankle or subtalar joint to treat arthritis or an injury to the cartilage
What happens after the injection?
Depending on the area that is injected, immobilization may be necessary for a couple of weeks followed by continuing physical therapy. It may take several months before the maximum benefit of the PRP is seen.
What are the potential side effects of a PRP injection?
Side effects are usually minimal but may include:
- Nerve injury
- Pain at the injection site
- Tissue damage
Why isn’t PRP covered by insurance?
PRP is only indicated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the operating room with bone grafting procedures. Although research does support other uses, they are considered “off label” and therefore not covered by insurance companies.