Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy for ankle injuries can mean the difference between a very long recovery time and a short one. It can also mean that if you are a competitive athlete, you’ll be able to get back into the game without having to sit out an entire season. In fact, many people who undergo PRP therapy after an ankle injury note that not only was the recovery period much shorter, but they didn’t have to worry about undergoing a surgical procedure yet again.
For ordinary people, i.e., non-athletes, PRP also offers multiple advantages. The best way to approach the question of “What are the reasons I should consider PRP therapy for an ankle injury?”, it’s best to begin with a general look at what PRP therapy is, how it works and what it is typically used for. After that, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of the whys and hows of PRP as it relates to your specific condition: an ankle injury.
What is PRP Therapy?
PRP therapy uses your own body’s plasma and blood platelets. One of the advantages of this form of treatment is that there is an extremely low risk of infection due to the fact that you’re simply using blood and blood components from your own body, not from someone else’s.
In any case, a typical PRP session is a four-step process that begins with something you’ve probably gone through many times before, a blood sample. Technicians take a small sample of your blood and place it into a centrifuge.
The second step of the process takes place in the centrifuge itself when the spinning begins. The force of the spin causes the blood sample to separate into four different layers: white cells, red cells, plasma and platelets.
In the third step, which is perhaps the most complex and can only be performed by a team of highly-skilled professionals, the pure plasma is combined with the platelets to create a “platelet-rich plasma” solution, hence the name of the therapy. The red and white cells are discarded but the PRP is retained. Doctors then adjust the PRP sample to make sure that the plasma-to-platelet ratio is just right for your particular situation. Depending on where the PRP is going to be re-injected, the ratios have to be calibrated to effect the fastest possible healing process.
Finally, the fourth step is the simplest. It involves the reintroduction of the PRP into your body via a standard injection. After that, you’re all done and are ready to begin healing.
How PRP Works
The way PRP works for ankle injuries is similar to the way it operates for other types of tendon, ligament and muscle injuries. First, it’s important to understand that blood platelets contain very high concentrations of nutrients that are able to speed up the body’s natural healing processes. When doctors remove these tiny powerhouses from your blood and reintroduce them into the injured ankle tissue, the body responds in several ways.
First, the healing process begins almost immediately and does so without surgical interventions. For many people, that is the key advantage to PRP therapy. But the proteins and cytokines are able to fast-track healing in such a way that not only is the process quicker, but there are no side effects except for minor discomfort at the time of the injection. The chemical components in the PRP lead to cellular repair, growth and reduction of inflammation in many different ways.
Recovering From Ankle Injuries After PRP Therapy
PRP is actually an accelerated form of healing for ankle injuries that work with the body’s own natural methods for making the injured tissue stronger. Recovery moves quickly because the injection is done exactly at the place where the platelet-rich plasma is needed. Of course, you’ll still need to be careful during recovery and brace the ankle, tape it and compress it if your doctor has told you to do so. If you need to undergo physical therapy exercises, you’ll still do them in the same way as you would if you have not had a PRP injection.
The big difference is that you won’t need to undergo surgery and the overall healing time will be much shorter due to the fact that your recovery time is not lengthened by an invasive surgery. It’s also highly likely that you will not need to use any drugs like anti-inflammatory substances or, even worse, opioids. Because PRP is a drug-free, non-surgical option that offers quick recovery and just a brief session for the blood draws, your life can continue without excessive pain, expense and lost time.
Why Do People Choose PRP For Ankle Injuries?
Injured adults often choose PRP therapy to treat dozens of different conditions. Some of the most common problems that respond quickly to PRP include the following:
- Posterior tibial tendonitis
- Many forms of arthritis
- Achilles tendonitis
- Tears of the plantar fascia tissue
- Chronic plantar fasciitis
- Peroneal tendonitis
- Various ligament and tendon injuries
- Strains and sprains of all kinds
- Knee and ankle injuries
Other key uses for PRP therapy include hair loss restoration and post-surgical recovery of various kinds. Every day, the list of uses for this effective, safe form of therapy continues to grow. What began as an alternative to sports surgery has quickly grown into a large medical approach to multiple kinds of injuries and conditions. Ankle and other forms of common injuries, however, continue to be among the most common uses of PRP therapy for athletes and non-athletes in the U.S. and elsewhere.
How To Decide
Even if you’ve been through the agony of a serious or minor ankle injury before, it’s important to get all the facts about modern treatment options. The medical field is changing rapidly; many forms of treatment and therapy for all sorts of conditions that weren’t available just a decade ago are now commonplace.
At Delaware Integrative Health, our team of professionals can assist you with the specific methods of treatment that are ideal for your particular situation. In most cases of PRP therapy for ankles, for example, our clients are back to their regular activities in just a few weeks. Contrast that scenario to the typical months-long recovery from a standard surgical procedure.
It’s also important that your decision-making include the question of cost. Our staff members can show you line-by-line comparisons for all the options you have available and let you know, in advance, what each one costs. That way, there is never any guessing on your part about what your total expenses will be. Suffice it to say, however, that PRP treatments routinely cost much less than any surgical procedure. But cost is not the only reason people often choose PRP for ankle injuries.
Other factors include the fast recovery time, the simplicity of the procedure and better overall results. If you have any questions about your ankle injury and various treatment regimens for it, feel free to contact a member of our Delaware Integrative Health team and we’ll be glad to answer your questions in person or over the phone.