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Advanced Institute

How We Use PRP to Treat Knee Pain

August 05, 2021 | PRP therapy

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Knee pain affects a lot of people — about 25% of adults in the United States alone. That pain limits knee function and overall mobility, and it impairs your quality of life. The pain may come from overuse, injury, instability, or a medical condition such as arthritis. In fact, osteoarthritis is the most common cause of knee pain in people over age 50.

At Advanced Relief Institute in East Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Dr. Neel Amin and his staff see many cases of knee pain. Double board-certified in anesthesiology and interventional pain medicine, Dr. Neel Amin takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating pain by addressing its emotional and physical aspects, recognizing that people live healthier and happier lives when they can find relief.

One of Dr. Neel Amin’s methods for treating knee pain is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, an option that’s gaining ground. Here’s what you need to know.

What is PRP?

Your blood is a mixture of red and white blood cells, plasma, and platelets, which contain proteins that help your blood clot as well as growth factors to assist with creating new blood vessels. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a suspension of platelets in plasma that aims to promote healing when injected into an injured area of the body.

By isolating the platelets and plasma from other blood components, the solution contains a higher concentration of platelets — 5 to 10 times greater — than in regular blood. The idea is that by injecting PRP with its growth factors into damaged tissues, you can stimulate your body to produce new, healthy cells and promote healing.

While it’s growing in popularity due to its use by sports celebrities like Tiger Woods to heal injuries, PRP therapy is still in its infancy. The treatment hasn’t yet been approved as a treatment by the US Food and Drug Administration.

But even though PRP’s therapeutic effect hasn’t been definitively proven in the overall scientific and medical literature, the risks associated with it are small. Some patients notice increased pain at the injection site, but the risk of issues such as infection, tissue damage, and nerve injuries appears similar to that of cortisone injections.

Which conditions can PRP therapy help?

PRP therapy is used for a wide range of different conditions, from sprains and strains to hair loss. Of most interest to our practice, though, are:

Tendon injuries

Tendons, thick bands of tissue that connect muscles to bone, are slow to heal after an injury. We use PRP injections to treat chronic tendon problems around the joints, including tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis in the ankle, and “jumper’s knee,” which is pain in the patellar tendon.

Acute injuries

We see a lot of acute sports injuries, and we use PRP injections to treat conditions such as pulled hamstring muscles and knee sprains.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but it commonly occurs in the knees of people over 50. A 2015 study found that PRP injections were more effective than traditional hyaluronic acid injections for treating osteoarthritis in the knee. However, the trial was small and therefore limited. Larger trials are needed to show PRP’s efficacy for this condition, but we have found it useful for our patients.

How is PRP therapy administered?

PRP therapy is done right here in our office. The solution takes about an hour to prepare, and we may mix it with an anesthetic for your comfort. Here’s what you can expect:

  • We draw a small blood sample from your arm
  • The blood spins in a centrifuge for about 15 minutes to separate out the platelets
  • We prepare your platelet-plasma solution
  • The doctor injects the PRP into the treatment area

Any downtime following the procedure will have more to do with your injury than with the injection itself.

Because PRP injections are administered to promote healing or growth, you might not experience an immediate effect. However, over the following several weeks or months, you may notice the area healing faster than you would have normally expected.

Are you experiencing knee pain and need a more progressive treatment? Your answer might be PRP therapy. To find out more, give us a call at 954-458-1199, or book your appointment online.