Platelet rich plasma treatment is emerging as a promising medical procedure in treating disorders and injuries of the foot and ankle. It has long been utilized in dental medicine to primarily assist in effective tissue recovery after oral surgeries.
With all of the advancements in technology, platelet rich plasma treatment is now being used in Sports Medicine applications to improve treatment and function after painful injuries among athletes. In addition, it is also being used by doctors as part of treating conditions that involve the foot and the ankle, such as nerve injury, tendinitis, and osteoarthritis among others.
What Is platelet rich plasma?
The human blood is made up of platelets, red blood cells, white blood cells, and plasma. Plasma simply refers to the liquid portion of that blood which functions to transport cells. It also contains protein factors that catch platelets at the site of injury which in turn facilitates the process of clotting. Platelets on the other hand serve the function of maintaining the stability within the human body by effective restoration of blood supply within the affected area after injury. Platelets are also responsible for the construction of new connective tissue cells.
Normally, the blood contains 93% RBC, 1% RBC, and 6% platelets. On the other hand, platelet rich plasma is modified in that it contains up to 94% platelets and 4% RBC. Through the injection of highly concentrated plasma into the affected site, it can stimulate the body into faster healing of tendons and soft tissues as well.
How is platelet rich plasma done?
In this management procedure, a medical professional first collects a patient’s blood. The plasma is then extracted from the blood for further processing. After successful extraction, the plasma is then reintroduced into the body through its injection into the patient’s injured foot or ankle.
In this case, the plasma contains platelets that feature powerful growth factors that stimulate tissue recovery. Platelet rich plasma also allows the injured tendon or ligament to heal quickly. This treatment is known to introduce platelets that are up to four to ten times more concentrated than that which can be found in normal blood.
One great benefit of platelet rich plasma treatment is that it is an outpatient procedure. It can be administered in the clinical setting, thus patients are not required to be admitted to a hospital or surgicenter. A single session only takes 30 to 45 minutes from blood extraction to final dressing procedure. Another great advantage of opting for platelet rich plasma treatment is that patients need not undergo sedation or general anesthesia thus lowering the overall cost of treatment.
In recent years, studies into the efficacy of this treatment show that people with sports-related injuries and those suffering from osteoarthritis of the foot and ankle are recovering nicely after platelet rich plasma therapy.
With all the recorded successes in the utilization of platelet rich plasma treatment in reducing inflammation and pain as well as faster healing recovery for ankle and foot injuries, researchers are looking into utilizing this simple and yet powerful procedure in managing other types of medical conditions that affect other parts of the body as well.