Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy
Our blood consists of a liquid component known as plasma. It also consists of three main solid components which include the red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets. Platelets play an important role in forming blood clots. They also consist of special proteins, known as growth factors, which help with our body’s healing process. Platelet-rich plasma or PRP is a high concentration of platelets and plasma. A normal blood specimen contains only 6% platelets, while platelet-rich plasma contains 94% of platelets and 5 to 10 times the concentration of growth factors found in normal blood, thus greater healing properties.
PRP is a relatively new method of treatment for several orthopaedic conditions such as muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries; arthritis; and fractures. PRP injections can help alleviate painful symptoms, promote healing and delay joint replacement surgeries.
Your doctor will first draw about 10 ccs of blood from the large vein in your elbow. The blood is then spun in a centrifuge machine for about 10 to 15 minutes to separate the platelets from the remaining blood components.
The injured part of your body is then anesthetized with a local anesthetic. The platelet-rich portion of your blood is then injected into your affected area. In some cases, your doctor may use ultrasound guidance for proper needle placement.
- It is normal to feel some discomfort at the injection site for a few days after your procedure.
- You will be prescribed pain medications by your doctor.
- You may use cold compresses to alleviate your symptoms.
- You will be instructed to stop any anti-inflammatory medications.
- You may resume your normal activities but should avoid any strenuous activities such as heavy lifting or exercises.
Risks and complications
There are very minimal risks associated with PRP injections. Some of the potential risks include
- Increased pain at the injection site
- Damage to adjacent nerves or tissues
- Formation of scar tissue
- Calcification at the injection site
Feet support your body weight, help maintain proper posture and help in movement. As the feet bear the entire weight of the body and are involved in most activities, they are more prone to problems such as calluses, corns, cracks, infections and traumatic injuries. To maintain good health of your feet, you should always wear comfortable, good quality and proper fitting footwear. Specially-designed shoe inserts, called orthotics, help in alignment and stabilization of the feet and can also reduce foot pain.
Tips for foot care
The basic instructions for maintaining healthy feet include:
- Keep your feet clean and dry. Scrub them to remove dead skin.
- Check your feet regularly for signs of injuries such as redness, discoloration, cracks or other abnormalities.
- Wear appropriately-sized foot wear that are comfortable.
- Footwear should have adequate ventilation to prevent fungal infection.
- Regularly cut your toenails straight and slightly curved at the edges.
- Never try to remove a corn, callus or ingrown toenail at home, as it can induce infection.
- Moisturize your feet properly to prevent cracks.
- While sitting for long periods, move and stretch your feet and ankles at regular intervals to promote circulation of blood in the feet.
- Stretch your feet daily and perform foot exercises.
- Never ignore foot pain. Consult a physician for appropriate treatment.
Foot Activity and Exercise Guide
A foot injury or foot surgery may leave you immobile for a period. To return to your regular activities and more strenuous recreational activities, it is necessary for you to follow a well-planned activity and exercise program.
You are encouraged to start walking with crutches or a walker following your surgery. Your doctor will help to structure and supervise an exercise routine that is ideal for you. A good exercise program to rehabilitate foot and ankle conditions, focuses on strengthening and stretching the muscles and tendons of the lower leg, feet and ankles to relieve pain and soreness, keep the muscles flexible, provide stability and prevent future injury.
Begin with a few warm-up exercises, followed by stretching, then move on to the strengthening exercises, followed again by stretching. If you experience pain, stop and contact your doctor, who will modify the routine to suit you. Some of the exercises that are prescribed include:
- Heel cord stretches: Stand with a wall in front of you. Put your unaffected foot ahead of you with the knee bent and your affected foot straight behind you. While supporting yourself on the wall, urge your hips forward with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
- Ball rolling: Sit on a chair with both feet on the ground. Use your affected foot to roll a ball under the arch of the foot. Perform this activity for 2 minutes.
- Towel stretching: Sit on the floor with the legs straight in front of you. Hook a towel under your affected foot and holding both ends pull towards yourself, keeping the leg straight. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds with 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
- Calf raises: Stand behind a chair and support yourself as you raise your unaffected leg behind you putting all your weight on the affected foot. Lift the heel and raise your body up. Perform 10 repetitions.
- Toe writing: While sitting down on an elevated chair use the big toe of your affected foot to write alphabets in the air. Perform 2 sets of this activity.
- Marble activity: Sit down on a chair and place 20 marbles on the floor near your affected foot. Use your toes to pick up one marble at a time and place it into a container.
Follow the routine three to five times a week for four to six weeks or as specified by your doctor. After this, you may continue the program to maintain strength and range of motion.
Following rehabilitation, you can gradually start walking, running and return to sports activities, as advised by your doctor.