PRP: A Non-Surgical Solution for Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, with about 10% of American adults experiencing it at some time. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that stretches from the base of your toes to your heel. Each time you take a step, the plantar fascia stretches and absorbs shock.

When you have plantar fasciitis, the tissue has tiny tears, called microtears, that can lead to painful degeneration of the tissue. If you have heel pain, especially in the first few steps after getting out of bed or after you’ve been sitting for awhile, you may have plantar fasciitis.

Traditional treatments

Most of the time, plantar fasciitis responds to conservative treatments — that is, those that don’t involve surgery. Sometimes, however, the condition turns chronic, with the pain lasting more than six months and the plantar fasciitis not responding to treatments such as icing, activity modification, taping, or splints. In those cases, more aggressive treatments are necessary.

Cortisone injections, perhaps combined with numbing medications, could decrease the inflammation and pain you feel from plantar fasciitis. Some people can’t have these injections for various reasons, however.

Surgery is usually considered a last resort because it’s invasive, requires healing time, and there’s a chance it may not be effective.

PRP

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy could be a more viable approach for treating your plantar fasciitis. PRP treatment involves your doctor drawing a small amount of your blood, which is put into a high-powered centrifuge that spins the blood and separates the platelets from the rest of the blood’s components. The doctor then injects the platelet-rich plasma into the site that needs healing.

Research has shown that the platelet-rich blood has more healing properties than your blood typically supplies. The therapy has been used for several years to treat injuries to the Achilles tendon and various ligaments, as well as to speed healing after surgery.

PRP and plantar fasciitis

A study published in 2017 examined the evidence for using PRP to treat plantar fasciitis. The researchers found that PRP works better than steroid injections to ease the pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

Another study compared participants with plantar fasciitis who received traditional, conservative treatment with a group that received PRP. At six-month and 12-month follow-ups, the patients who had received PRP were still largely pain-free, while many in the conservative treatment group were back to their baseline level of pain.

There are few risks associated with PRP. Because the therapy involves your own blood, there’s no chance that you’ll have an allergic reaction to it. The only risk, and it’s less than 1%, is that you may have an infection at the injection site.

About 80% of people who have plantar fasciitis recover with conservative treatment. However, if you’re one of those who has experienced chronic pain due to plantar fasciitis, you may have additional questions about PRP.

The physicians at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists are experienced in performing PRP. They’re happy to answer your questions and to evaluate whether you’re a candidate for PRP. Schedule an appointment online or by phone to learn more.

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