Platelet – rich Plasma therapy is a safe nonsurgical treatment for knee pain caused by knee osteoarthritis, meniscus tears, knee cartilage injury, traumatic ligament injuries, overuse conditions and other degenerative conditions. Conventional treatment options for knee pain may not provide sufficient relief.
Knee Osteoarthritis (OA)
OA causes degeneration of knee cartilage but is difficult to treat because cartilage lacks a blood supply which impairs healing potential. Most OA treatments are designed to improve symptoms. Currently no treatments slow the progression OA.
A review of current clinical evidence supports the benefits of PRP therapy for symptomatic relief of knee and hip osteoarthritis. Studies report therapy reduces inflammation which is often the source of pain and stiffness.
Knee Ligament Injuries
Knee ligaments connect bones together and provide joint stability. A traumatic injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or the medial cruciate ligament (MCL) can result in a partial or full tear. Symptoms include pain, swelling and instability and there may be a popping sound when the injury occurs.
ACL reconstruction is the gold standard for treatment of complete tears in active and symptomatic individuals. PRP may be used to augment and enhance tissue repair during surgery to help reduce recovery time and improve function and quality of life.
Partial tears are treated with physical therapy to strengthen the joint without surgery for people who do not wish to return to sports that require pivoting. PRP therapy can accelerate healing of injured tendons and ligaments and helps to preserve healthy ligament tissues.
Patellar tendinitis is caused by an injury to the tendon that connects your kneecap to your shin. Symptoms are pain that worsens as time passes and interferes with daily function. Chronic tendinitis is an overuse injury caused by stress that results in tears in the tendon. It is difficult to treat. There is no agreement on the best way to treat chronic tendinitis. Conservative treatment is the common approach. However, it is not effective in all cases. PRP therapy for chronic patellar tendinopathy improves outcomes.
The meniscus is made of collagen and provides shock absorption, lubrication and joint stability. Symptoms include pain, swelling and stiffness. The meniscus is vulnerable to repeat injuries and post-traumatic osteoarthritis. Meniscus tears are challenging to treat because the meniscus has a poor blood supply. Treatment depends on the extent of a tear. PRP therapy accelerates healing and tissue regeneration which can provide pain relief and halt the progression of post-traumatic OA.
What is Platelet – rich Plasma?
Blood is primarily plasma, the liquid that contains red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Platelets are best known for their blood clotting ability, but platelets are a natural reservoir of hundreds of biologically active proteins called growth factors that play a key role in wound healing and tissue repair. When there is an injury or inflammation, platelets flood the area to stop bleeding, and heal damaged tissues.
PRP is a solution made by concentrating platelets, and growth factors to increase potency. Increased concentrations of platelets and growth factors boost the body’s repair mechanisms and shorten recovery. PRP harnesses the power of your body’s natural healing abilities to promote healing, and regenerate tissues that help you recover quickly.
How is PRP made?
A small amount of your blood is collected and prepared to separate the platelets from the other blood components. The concentrated platelets and growth factors are combined with the remaining blood and local anesthetic, for your comfort.
The PRP Procedure
The PRP solution is injected in to the injured area, often under ultrasound guidance. The activated growth factors stimulate the release of repair cells to accelerate the healing process and provide symptom relief.
Side effects are minimal and may include pain at the site of injection that can last for a few hours or days and swelling that resolves within a few days. After treatment a patient will be advised to rest and avoid exercise for a time.
Generally, it can take up to a month to experience pain relief which will improve over the course of 3-6 months after treatment. However, the recovery period is determined by the type and severity of injury.
PRP therapy offers pain relief without the risks of surgery, anesthesia, and a long recovery. In some cases, PRP therapy is an alternative to surgery; and in some cases, it is used during surgery.
PRP therapy stimulates and accelerates tissue repair and healing, without invasive procedures and the associated risks. PRP therapy may significantly improve your function and quality of life, so you can get back to the life you love.
Is PRP therapy safe?
PRP therapy is very safe. It is not a drug. Because it is made from your own blood and injected into the site of your injury or degeneration, there is no risk of adverse reaction, or disease transmission.
How does PRP work?
PRP injections soak injured cells in the concentrated plasma and the numerous growth factors to enhance one or more phases of bone and soft tissue healing. PRP also enhances proliferation of stem cells and fibroblasts to boost healing and regeneration of damaged tissues.
Platelets naturally accumulate and adhere to the site of an injury, where they release chemicals that regulate the mechanisms of healing including blood vessel development, cellular migration and proliferation. Additionally, studies report that the platelets in PRP produce signaling proteins that have antimicrobial activity, meaning they mobilize the immune system to prevent infection, which can also improve wound healing. Studies also report that bioactive molecules and growth factors reduce pain. Studies show that the increased concentration of growth factors catalyze the body’s repair mechanisms and shorten recovery time.
Benefits of PRP Therapy
PRP therapy reduces inflammation, relieves pain, promotes repair, increases collagen production for firmer and more resilient cartilage, enhances blood flow to deliver nutrients that support healing, and recruits and supports stem cells to regenerate tissues. PRP restores normal healing mechanisms and accelerates repair of damaged tissues.
The result is improved pain relief without the risks of cortisone injections, surgery, anesthesia, and a long recovery. Most patients can resume their work and activities immediately after treatment. In some cases, PRP therapy is an alternative to surgery.
Side effects are minimal and may include pain at the site of injection that usually lasts for a few hours and swelling that resolves within a few days.
Is PRP right for me?
When conservative methods fail to relieve pain and restore function, PRP therapy can help you heal with minimal scarring and halt tissue degeneration. It is a fast, painless procedure that takes just a few hours from start to finish.
Our physicians are specially trained in the procedures and preparation of PRP. Physicians Rehabilitation has locations in Fort Myers, Lady Lake, Naples, Port Charlotte and Sun City Center Florida for convenient, high-quality specialized sports-medicine and orthopedic services. Contact us to learn about how PRP therapy can benefit you.
- Laver L, Marom N, Dnyanesh L, Mei-Dan O, Espregueira-Mendes J, Gobbi A. PRP for Degenerative Cartilage Disease: A Systematic Review of Clinical Studies. Cartilage. 2016;8(4):341–364. doi:10.1177/1947603516670709
- Cole BJ., Et Al. Hyaluronic Acid Versus Platelet-Rich Plasma: A Prospective, Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing Clinical Outcomes and Effects on Intra-articular Biology for the Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis Am J Sports Med 2017 FEB;45(2):339-346.
- Seijas R, Ares O, Cuscó X, Alvarez P, Steinbacher G, Cugat R. Partial anterior cruciate ligament tears treated with intraligamentary plasma rich in growth factors. World J Orthop. 2014;5(3):373–378. Published 2014 Jul 18. doi:10.5312/wjo.v5.i3.373
- Zayni R, Thaunat M, Fayard JM, et al. Platelet-rich plasma as a treatment for chronic patellar tendinopathy: comparison of a single versus two consecutive injections. Muscles Ligaments Tendons J. 2015;5(2):92–98. Published 2015 Jul 3.