PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Treatment for Heel Pain

person holding the back of their heelAre you suffering from chronic pain heel pain? Do you have a diagnosis of Achilles tendonitis, Achilles tendonosis or plantar fasciitis? If you've already undergone conservative care for these conditions, but have not gotten better you may be a good candidate for PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma).

What is PRP?

PRP or Platelet-Rich Plasma is a form of regenerative medicine. It harnesses the body's ability to heal itself. Sometime ago, someone discovered that growth factors are found in abundance in our own platelets. When those platelets are concentrated and used to treat injured tissue, the growth factors stimulate and increase the reparative cells in the body. As a result, healing is accelerated.

Platelet-rich plasma is created by taking a patient's own blood, concentrating it (spinning it down in a centrifuge), and injecting it back into the patient's injured tissue. In this case, the PRP is injected into the Achilles tendon or the plantar fascia.

Ultrasound imaging may be used to guide the injection.

Patients frequently report a decrease in pain and swelling a short period of time after the injection.

Achilles Tendonitis and Achilles Tendonosis and PRP

PRP has shown to be effective in treating chronic Achilles tendonitis (an inflammation of the Achilles tendon) and Achilles tendonosis, a degeneration of the collagen protein that forms the tendon.

Both of these conditions typically occur in runners and other athletes. Achilles tendonosis occurs in athletes who don't give their body's adequate time to heal from Achilles tendonitis.

Plantar Fasciitis and PRP

Before PRP was used to treat plantar fasciitis, cortisone was used exclusively to bring down the pain and inflammation caused by this condition. While a cortisone injection can provide faster relief, long term studies have shown it can cause tearing of tissues when used in large doses or over a long period of time. Other studies have shown similar positive results in use of PRP vs. cortisone in reducing heel pain. Therefore PRP is the better choice since it does not cause any longer term side effects.

To learn more about PRP and whether it's the right treatment for you, contact our office at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.