Your knees take on a lot of stress from everyday activities. So it’s not surprising that so many of us suffer from knee pain.
But you may not have to resort to an expensive knee replacement surgery. Our experts at Your PRP Clinic recommend platelet-rich plasma injections, a groundbreaking therapy that’s quickly becoming the first choice among doctors for treating knee pain.
Your knees are one of the most complex joints of your body. Each knee is formed in 3 parts:
Various types of cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and muscles work together to ensure that your knees are stable and can fulfill their functions.
Because of our heavy dependence on our knees, they’re prone to injuries and other problems that can cause severe pain. In addition to arthritis, common causes of knee pain include:
If your knee pain isn’t severe, your physician may recommend starting with conservative treatments like rest, ice, and over-the-counter medications.
But what if your knee pain doesn’t go away? Or if it comes back after it is seemingly “fully healed”? Depending on the exact cause of your knee pain, you may have another option: Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy.
Your body may hold the secret to treating your knee pain.
As its name implies, PRP consists of two main components, platelets, and plasma. Plasma is responsible for circulating your blood cells and nutrients throughout your body. Platelets are blood cells that rush to the site of an injury to help your blood clot.
Platelets have another critical function — healing. They contain an abundance of growth factors, proteins, and signaling chemicals that, when released, play a critical role in tissue regeneration.
In a healthy person, the normal platelet count ranges from 150,000 and 350,000 cells/microliters of blood.1 This concentration may not be enough. But by spinning down your blood at high speeds (a process called centrifugation), the platelet concentration can be dramatically increased.
The high concentration of platelets found in PRP may help regulate:1,2
The PRP preparation is injected directly into the affected area of your knee, prompting healing and repairing cascade.
In other words, PRP therapy allows you to use your body’s own natural healing resources to repair itself.
The concentration of platelets can vary depending on individual patient characteristics, such as your age, medical conditions, and blood circulation.1 Your PRP treatment may also include other components of blood, such as leukocytes, a type of white blood cells. Talk to your provider about which type is best for you.
The answer may depend on the exact cause of your knee pain.
Multiple clinical trials have demonstrated PRP’s efficacy in slowing down knee osteoarthritis, a major cause of pain and disability in the United States.
In one such study, 30 patients with knee osteoarthritis were randomized to receive either PRP injections or a placebo. At the end of the study, those who received PRP injections reported significant (78%) pain relief and functional improvements. The patients who received placebo injections improved by only 7%.3
Another study followed 150 patients with moderate knee osteoarthritis for one year after they were treated with either PRP or hyaluronic acid. The research team found that significantly greater improvements persisted in the PRP group compared to the hyaluronic acid group. The PRP group also had lower inflammatory markers.4
One study evaluated the efficacy of PRP on patients with jumper’s knees, a disabling, often chronic condition that affects many athletes. Fifteen patients with chronic jumper’s knees were treated with PRP injections, while 16 were treated exclusively with physiotherapy. A majority of the participants reported significant improvements in their knee function and quality of life, and they were also able to return to their previous sports activity level.5
Though the research is still early, these results are promising. Talk to your provider about whether PRP therapy might be right for your knee pain.
Your provider will provide instructions on how to prepare for your appointment. Some medications like anticoagulants or NSAIDs may need to be stopped.
The entire PRP process, which includes preparation and injection, takes approximately an hour.
At Your PRP Clinic, you can expect the following steps:
|A technician will draw a small sample of blood from you, which will be placed in a tube.|
|The vial is placed in a centrifuge, which spins the blood at high speeds. This separates the platelets from the other blood components.|
|We remove the tube from the centrifuge and separate the plasma layer from the other layers which are then discarded.|
|Once the PRP solution is prepared, your provider will inject it into the affected area where the healing process begins.|
Because PRP triggers a cascade of biological responses, you may experience some soreness or swelling in the injection area for a few days. We recommend taking it easy for a few days after your treatment.
You should notice a gradual reduction in discomfort over the next few weeks as your knees heal. If your symptoms worsen, please contact our clinic.
Because PRP is an autologous therapy (derived from your own blood), it has an outstanding safety profile. There is no risk of an adverse reaction or disease transmission. Talk to your provider if you’re taking any medications or if you experience any severe discomfort after your injection.
PRP injections can help you rediscover mobility and return to your active life. Results from research studies suggest PRP may be a safe and effective alternative to some of the other treatment methods available.
If you’re in the Schaumburg, IL area and are suffering from chronic knee pain, call us at (866) 999-8550 today to learn how PRP can help you.