For young, healthy individuals, healing a cut or a broken bone is as simple as keeping the area protected, uninfected, and giving the body time to heal. This paradigm works for many people and is a mainstay of post surgical and post traumatic care. Unfortunately, there are many things that can lengthen or complicate the heeling process. As we age, it becomes more difficult to heal injuries. Tobacco use, poor nutrition, diabetes, or other diseases can all cause body tissues to have problems recovering from damage. While you may have heard of its use in athletes’ bone repair, platelet rich plasma, or PRP, is becoming more widely used for healing a variety of foot problems.
There have been multiple research articles that have reported the use of PRP alone and combined with bone marrow cells to correct fractures and subsequent non-unions, or bone that doesn’t heal. Additionally, PRP has been used to help repair damaged cartilage in joints. More recent work has shown a higher number of individuals with chronic open wounds went on to heal completely with PRP than those who received standard care. While the research is more limited, there is evidence for use of PRP in problems with tendons and ligaments, such as plantar fasciitis and other tendonopathies. The fact that this therapy has wide applications is due to why these problems become difficult to heal. With health problems or any of the things we mentioned earlier, your body can have problems delivered the proper growth factors and supplies to the areas that need it the most. The ‘science’ behind this therapy is that it is able to bring these things directly to the area it is needed.
This treatment involves drawing your blood and spinning the fluid in centrifuge. By doing so, the different components of your blood are selected out by weight. The platelet portion contains a high concentration of ‘immature’ growth cells that can grow into many different cell types and promote healing. By using your own cells, many of the problems that can occur with use of foreign materials are avoided. This ‘rich’ plasma can be delivered to the site of the problem allowing for faster and better healing.
This is yet another one of the many treatments your Austin podiatrist can provide. Dr. Thomajan will discuss this and other treatments to best heal your foot problems.
Until next time, keep those feet and ankles happy and healthy, Austin!