Athletes and active individuals who suffer with chronic knee pain from injuries or osteoarthritis (OA) may get relief from a safe and non-surgical procedure. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy involves using a person’s own blood to heal damaged tendons or cartilage. PRP has been successful in not only relieving pain but accelerating the healing process.
No one should ever give in to the idea that knee pain always requires surgery. All too often, surgeries are an inappropriate recommendation. In fact, a study conducted in 2014 by the American College of Rheumatology revealed “About one-third of patients who undergo total knee replacement surgery in the U.S. may not be good candidates for the procedure.” With total knee replacements (TKRs) becoming the default prescription for knee pain, it is important to realize the available alternatives to surgery.
Need to Know
In a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, it was shown that PRP injections can benefit patients with OA in their knees. The study involved 78 patients with OA in both knees (156 knees). Each knee received one of three treatments: 1 PRP injection, 2 PRP injections or 1 placebo saline injection. Researchers evaluated the subject’s knees at 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months after injections. What they found was:
- Knees treated with 1 or 2 PRP injections saw a reduction in pain and stiffness as well as improvement in knee function at 6 weeks and 3 months.
- At the 6 month mark positive results declined, though pain and function were still better than before PRP treatment.
- The group that received placebo injections saw a small increase in pain and stiffness and a decrease in knee function.
Hines Ward and Troy Polamalua
PRP therapy gained widespread recognition in the world of sports when Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Stealers received PRP therapy before winning Super Bowl XLIII. Other successful athletes who received the therapy include Tiger Woods, Takashi Saito and Bartolo Colon.
When considering your options, PRP offers a number of appealing benefits:
- Decreased Rehabilitation Time – You may be concerned about the amount of rehabilitation time required for a major surgical procedure. PRP treatment allows patients to walk out of their appointment and return to their active lifestyles within a few days of injection.
- Non-Invasive Procedure – Unlike invasive surgical procedures, which frequently require heavy sedation. PRP therapy administers a small dose of local anesthetic directly to the injection site. Patients report minimal pain associated with this 30-minute procedure.
- Reflex Knee Expertise – There are several different preparation methods for PRP, and not all of them are healthy for treating the inside of the joint. Some PRP formulations are good for tendon treatments but bad for joints, and vice versa. We have done extensive research on which PRP preparation is most effective inside the knee joint and offer a state-of-the-art PRP system which has cell ratios that are optimal for treatment inside the joint. A proper PRP mixture can enhance the overall health of the joint by blocking pro-inflammatory pathways and restoring equilibrium of the joint environment.
- Friendly Staff – our knowledgeable and professional staff will be by your side throughout the entire procedure, ready to keep you comfortable during the procedure and to handle any questions as they arise.
You Have Choices
Whether you choose to follow through with knee surgery or not, understanding your options is vital. Some situations absolutely require surgical repair or knee replacement, but many do not. If you are facing the tough decision of a possible knee operation or total knee replacement, make sure your doctor has notified you of potential alternatives.