Platelet-rich Plasma Injections

What are platelets?

Platelets are small cells in the blood that help form clots to stop bleeding.
 

What is platelet-rich plasma?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a patient’s own concentrated platelets. PRP contains a large number growth factors. These growth factors stimulate healing.
 

What are the goals of a PRP injection?

When PRP is injected, it can aid the body’s natural healing of injuries. The goal is not only to relieve symptoms but to create actual healing. In some cases, PRP may reduce the need for medication and/or surgery.


When is a PRP injection helpful?

It has been used to treat tendon, ligament, cartilage and bone injuries, as well as arthritis. Around the foot and ankle PRP is used for treatment of tendon and ligament injuries such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendon and ankle ligament injuries.
 

When should I avoid a PRP injection?

PRP injections are not recommended for the treatment of infections or cancer.
 

General Details of PRP Injection Therapy

A small amount of a patient’s blood is drawn and then spun at high speed. The platelets are concentrated. This liquid is then injected around or near the area of injury being treated. The PRP at this stage contains three to five times the concentration of growth factors compared to normal human blood.
 
A physician may recommend a single injection or a series of injections based on the injury being treated and a patient’s initial response to the therapy. Your doctor may use ultrasound or an X-ray as a guide to placing the injection.
 

What happens after a PRP injection?

You may experience mild pain and irritation of the area for several days following the injection. Some doctors may ask patients to limit motion or weight-bearing activity immediately following the injection. The use of a brace, boot or cast may be recommended during the early post-injection course.
 
Three to seven days after the injection, you may gradually return to normal physical activities. The return to full activity is determined based on response to the therapy and the recommendation of your surgeon.
 

Potential Complications

As PRP is obtained from your own blood, the risk of reaction is low. As with any injection, there is a small risk of injury to any structures in the area as well as a very small risk of infection.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

How many PRP injections can I have?
A treatment may require a series of injections, perhaps three to five. However, multiple injections are often not recommended if there is no improvement in symptoms following the first or second treatment.
 

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) offers information on this site as an educational service. The content of FootCareMD, including text, images and graphics, is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses or treatments. If you need medical advice, use the "Find an Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Surgeon" tool at the top of this page or contact your primary doctor.