In our podiatry practice in Houston, we've introduced regenerative medicine treatments like Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and Shockwave Therapy. We love these procedures because they are minimally invasive. And they help your body heal itself! Recently, New York Yankees star Aaron Judge made headlines for treating his sprained toe with PRP. So, today, we'll explain how this treatment modality works, and how it could help speed up recovery from a toe, foot or ankle sprain. 

What is an Ankle Sprain? 

When you suffer a sprain, that means you've stretched or torn your ligaments. And, since you have many ligaments around your ankle, this is a common site for sprain injuries. Typically, your ligaments sustain damage when outside pressures force your ankle into an abnormal position. Similarly, you can suffer sprain injuries in any sport on your foot that contains ligaments. As such, you could sprain your toes, like Aaron Judge, or other areas of your foot, though these injuries are less common. 

Causes, Signs and Symptoms

When it comes to ankle sprains, the injury occurs when your ankle “rolls inward.”  It could happen while you're walking on a bumpy road, or when you're playing sports where you stop and start suddenly, including tennis and basketball. When it comes to spraining your toe, the most common injury is turf toe, an injury you often sustain when pushing off of your toe on hard, artificial surfaces.  

When it comes to the symptoms of an ankle sprain, you'll likely experience pain, swelling, and bruising. You may hear a pop at the time of the injury. And as for that sprained toe? Symptoms include sharp pain, stiffness and reduced flexibility at the joint. 

With both injuries, you need immediate treatment to prevent improper healing and further complications. Typically, we treat sprains with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE.) When athletes are dealing with sprain injuries, they usually have to stop playing their favorite sports so that their injuries can heal. And, when it comes to turf toe, athletes are often treated surgically for this injury. But recent scientific reviews reveal that 12-year outcomes for this treatment method are less than ideal, leaving many searching for better treatment options.Obviously, staying sidelined for a long time is no fun. (And it's bad for business when pro athletes are affected.) As such, many people prefer to speed up their healing while avoiding surgery or prescription medications. And that's when Platelet Rich Plasma can come in handy! 

What is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy for Foot and Toe Sprains? Man bending big toe back to show reduced mobility due to toe sprain

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is an injectable treatment we offer to speed up your recovery time after an injury. Now, you could also ask for a cortisone injection. But PRP works differently, using your own blood’s platelets to induce that healing process.

Are you wondering how this works, exactly? Here's the deal. PRP increases blood flow to your stretched or torn ligaments, also causing them to be surrounded by small blood clots. In turn, those clots direct healing factors to the area. Soon, your pain starts resolving, at a much faster rate than it would on its own. The injection also speeds up your body's ability to develop healthy new tissue, further reducing your recovery time.

Hang on:  What's Plasma?

Plasma is the fluid portion of your blood. It carries blood cells, stem cells, and healing platelets, circulation them throughout your body. Plasma is also rich in proteins; and their job is to help your body to form new, healthy cells.

When we inject PRP into the area surrounding your sprained ligmanet, that delivers a concentrated collection of proteins and platelets to the area. This helps your body heal any injured tissue so you can enjoy a fast and natural recovery.

And What Are Platelets Again? 

Platelets are the cells that your body dispatches to respond to an injury. Their job? To repair internal damage. And they can do that because platelet are packed with ontain growth factors that also attract cells built to repair injured tissue and speed up your healing.

Understanding PRP Injections for Toe Sprains

About one week before PRP treatments, you have to avoid all oral anti-inflammatory medications since they stop platelet production in your body. Then, when you come into the office, we'll take your blood specimen and hold it in several vials. Next, they enter our PRP centrifuge for fast spinning.

This process separates the blood into its individual parts. Now, plasma will rise to the top of the vial, where we siphon it off to secure a packed sample of concentrated proteins and platelets. Finally, we put that portion of your blood into a syringe, and we're ready to give you an injection.

Now, just before the PRP injection, we'll numb the target area. That way, you won’t have to worry about discomfort. Next, we'll pinpoint the precise injection are using our diagnostic ultrasound. This allows us to identify the exact sites of damage in your ligaments. And, once we do, we’ll inject your PRP directly to the source of the injury, treating the pain and inflammation of your ankle or toe sprain using platelet rich plasma.

What Happens After Platelet Rich Plasma? PRP machine in Houston, TX podiatry practice

You can go home right after the PRP therapy, because it's an outpatient procedure performed in our Houston podiatrist's office. Depending on your condition, you may have to rest moderately for the next few days, avoid strenuous exercise or activities.  

Some patients feel mild irritation at their injection site, but most experience no other side effects. Still, if you have discomfort after PRP treatment, you can take acetaminophen or use cold compresses at the injection site. You cannot take anti-inflammatory medications for 48 hours after treating an ankle sprain using Platelet Rich Plasma.

Combining PRP and Shockwave Therapy for Sprain Injuries

In our office, we also offer other regenerative medicine treatments, including Shockwave Therapy (EPAT). Many patients like to combine both options, since this non-invasive treatment also helps your body heal itself. In combination with Platelet Rich Plasma, it can dramatically reduce recovery times.

As an added bonus, Shockwave Therapy sessions are speedy, lasting 10 minutes or less. As a result, we can even give you a Shockwave treatment while we process your PRR blood samples. 

PRP Treatment for Sprained Toe in Houston, TX

For best results, our podiatrist in Houston, TX uses the XCell PRP system from Apex Biologix, pictured above. It delivers high platelet and cell concentrations with every PRP injection we provide. As a result, our patients enjoy faster and longer lasting relief from the pain of sprain injuries. Want to get on the road to recovery?  Give us a call and ask about treating foot, ankle or toe spains using Platelet Rich Plasma.  



Dr. Andrew Schneider
Connect with me
A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.