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Tendon and ligament injuries are common in the lower extremity due to the forces exerted on the lower extremity during walking, jogging, running or performing daily activities. The foot and ankle are no exception. Ligaments and tendons are poorly vascularized and therefore once injured are difficult to heal. This, coupled with the difficulty of resting the foot and ankle in an active person when an injury occurs, makes treating tendon injuries quite difficult.
Surgical intervention has long been the method of treatment for moderate to severe tendon injuries. However, this treatment option is invasive and requires a lengthy post-operative recovery period. A recent non-surgical alternative treatment for tendon and fascial injuries has emerged which involves injecting the patient’s own plasma into the injured area.
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is simple to obtain and is created by obtaining a small amount of the patient’s blood and spinning the sample at high speed (centrifuging). This separates the red blood cells from the plasma which contains many platelets. This portion of the sample is collected and prepared for injection.
Platelets produce and supply platelet-derived growth factor which is essential in the repair of connective tissue and stimulates the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis), providing increased vascularity to these otherwise poorly vascularized areas. In conjunction, PRP has been shown to speed healing time and possibly eliminate the need for surgery.