Innovative Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Pain
The Doctors with Diagnostic Foot Specialists have brought an innovative treatment for heel pain and soft tissues injuries to the Greater Houston area; - a procedure that they say will offer a safer, cheaper and more effective alternative to invasive foot surgeries. Whereas before, plantar fasciitis and torn damaged tendons would require as much as $5,000 in surgery and weeks of downtime, the new procedure will offer relief for a fraction of the cost and without painful incisions.
The process, called Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy involves taking a sample of the patient’s own blood and placing it into a centrifuge. From the centrifuge the sample is separated into plasma and autologous conditioned blood, or concentrated blood platelets. These platelets contain much of the healing and growth factors that are used by the body to heal it of injuries. Dr. Leisten likes to refer to it as a, “cocktail” that jumpstarts the healing process. The patient’s own blood platelets are then injected into the area of injury – such an area of an ankle sprain, heel pain or a torn or inflamed ligament - where they assist in regenerating damaged tissues.
The process is especially effective in helping patients recover from plantar fasciitis, or inflammation of the thick connective tissue that runs the length of the bottom of the foot, which accounts for nearly 40% foot pain in our office. If you have had heel pain for six or more months and have been told that surgery is your only option, this may be the non surgical treatment you have been looking for.
“The best thing about this process is it can’t really hurt anyone. There’s no cutting and no worry about infections and diseases because we use the patient’s own blood,” Injections of platelets can be performed as an outpatient procedure in our office for a fraction of the cost of previous surgical solutions and is often covered by your health insurance.
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy Using ACP
What is Autologous Conditioned Plasma Therapy Using ACP?
ACP or Autologous Conditioned Plasma is an "autologous conditioned blood therapy" that uses a patient's own blood components to simulate a healing response in damaged tissues. In response to an injury or tissue damage, your body naturally recruits platelets and white blood cells form the blood to initiate a healing response. Under normal conditions, platelets store numerous growth factors, which are released in response to signals from the injured tissue. Modern technology allows us to concentrate platelets and white blood cells from your blood, and induce this growth factor release as we inject the solution directly into injured tissue, stimulating this same healing response in a more powerful form. By enhancing the body's natural healing capacity, the treatment may lead to a more rapid, more efficient, and more thorough restoration of the tissue to a healthy state.
What foot conditions can be treated with PRP?
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Shin Splints
- Peroneal Tendonitis
- Ankle Sprains
- Achilles Tendonitis or Partial Tears
Following a formal evaluation and diagnostic work-up, an individualized treatment plan will be discussed with you. A full explanation of the procedure including risks and benefits will be reviewed. Once this is discussed, blood is drawn from your arm and placed in a special processing unit, which separates platelets, white blood cells, and serum from red blood cells. The platelets and white blood cells are then concentrated and collected into a sterile syringe. Some of the blood is used to create an "activator" of the PRP. The skin and soft tissue is anesthetized with local anesthetic, followed by injection of both the PRP and activator into the tissue targeted for treatment. Depending on the size of the injured tissue, one or several needles are inserted to optimize placement of the PRP.
Depending on the severity and duration of your injury, one to three PRP injections are suggested. Following the initial treatment with PRP, a follow up visit occurs 2-3 weeks later. At this visit an evaluation of your response to the initial therapy is performed and a decision is made regarding the need for additional PRP treatments. In general, chronic injuries require more than one injection. In both acute and chronic injuries, injections may be combined with an exercise or physical therapy program to enhance the success.
Are PRP injections safe?
Research and clinical data show that PRP injections are extremely safe, with minimal risk for any adverse reaction or complication. Because PRP is produced from your blood, there is no concern for rejection or disease transmission. There is a small risk of infection from any injection into the body, but this is rare. Of note, recent research suggests that PRP may have an anti-bacterial property that protects against possible infection (4).
What to expect after your treatment:
Often, following the initial injection, an "archy" soreness is felt at the site of injury. This "soreness" is a positive sign that healing response has been set in motion. This effect can last for several days and gradually decreases as healing and tissue repair occurs. It is most important that anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen and Asprin should be avoided following PRP treatment. These medicines may block the effects of the intended healing response facilitated by the injection itself. It is acceptable to use over the counter pain medication, such as Tylenol and in some cases a prescribed analgesic, which does not have anti-inflammatory properties, to control discomfort as needed. The physician managing your treatment plan will discuss pain management options with you. You will be permitted to resume normal day to day activities and light exercise following injection. We suggest you avoid strenuous lifting or high-level exercise for at least several days after injection.
Call one of our offices to see if you are a candidate for this new innovative treatment for heel pain and other soft tissue injuries of the foot
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