By Dr. Ryan Geringer
A new hope for joint pain is here. PRP or “platelet-rich plasma” is a recent discovery in the treatment of all types of joint conditions. Each of our joints is a matrix of tendons, ligaments, bones, and cartilage, and PRP can help speed the healing of each of these materials . Emerging evidence also suggests that PRP can ease the pain of both acute injuries and more chronic conditions .
What is PRP
Platelet-rich plasma is a blood product that can be injected precisely into certain areas of a joint. The liquid is taken from your blood and modified to increase the ratio of platelets and build a high concentration of growth factors that stimulate healing . The modified plasma is then carefully injected into the joint to maximize the benefit.
There is emerging evidence that PRP can help in many common types of joint pain. We see it ease the pain of osteoarthritis in all major joints- knees, elbows, even hips . In the case of injuries, PRP treatment has been shown to help the healing process of a ligament graft as in the case of ACL tears and surgical reconstruction . This assistance can significantly reduce the downtime required for such a surgery.
PRP also helps to heal what is typically known as a very difficult area to stimulate healing: the avascular zone of the knee cap . The meniscus is a frequent site for tears during knee traumas. Small tears around the edges are quick to heal, while deeper tears that extend into the part of the tissue that does not have any blood supply (“avascular”) is typically very stubborn and even resistant to surgical interventions. Direct injections of PRP are an exciting new treatment for this problem.
Most importantly, PRP treatment has been proven to be safe and well tolerated by patients . You can expect relief from pain just days after treatment.
What to do
Be sure to talk to your doctors about the possibility of integrating PRP in your treatment. In the meantime, it is important to protect the joint while it heals. Bracing, strengthening and cold therapy have all be proven to help. Bracing with either one of our hard braces or our compression sleeves helps keep the joint stable and moving correctly.
Strengthening has repeatedly been shown to reduce pain and stimulate healing. Each of our kits for joint pain includes a strength training program developed by our physical therapist. And finally, cold therapy works wonders on reducing pain and controlling inflammation. Our kits also include a Freeze Sleeve to help reduce the painful edema.
With the most recent evidence, PRP is worth looking into! Until then, take care of your joints with our easy, home-based care kits.
Information in this article is for education purposes only and does not and can not replace your physician's advice.
 Betancourt, J.P., and Murrell, W.D. (2016). Leukocyte-Poor Platelet-Rich Plasma To Treat Degenerative Meniscal Tear: A Case Report. Journal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Trauma, 7, 106-109. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28018086
 Braun, H.J., Wasterlain, A.S., and Dragoo, J.L. (2013). The Use Of PRP In Ligament And Meniscal Healing. Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Review, 21(4), 206-212. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24212368 Merolla, Giovanni et al. (2017). Arthroscopic Debridement Versus Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection: A Prospective, Randomized, Comparative Study Of Chronic Lateral Epicondylitis With A Nearly 2-Year Follow-Up. Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic & Related Surgery. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28433443