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I'm finding that many people want to address their foot or ankle pain without medicine or cortisone injections. Yes, it can be done. My name is Dr. Andrew Schneider, and I'm a podiatrist in Houston, TX. When confronted with foot pain, such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis, There are two directions we can treatment. The traditional method is focusing on treating and eliminating symptoms. Conversely, regenerative medicine seeks to replace tissue damaged by trauma or injury. In today's video, I'm gonna discuss how Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, can work to cure your foot or ankle pain without using medicine or cortisone injections.  

We are a medication focused society. Have a headache, take acetaminophen. Have a sore muscle, take ibuprofen. A joint's bothering you, nothing that a cortisone shot can't take care of. In these cases, we're using medicine in a way to handle the effect of what's bothering you. But it doesn't address the underlying cause. 

I've found that my patients are looking for a more complete way to cure their foot or ankle pain. More natural ways, preferably without medication. That's why I've turned to including more regenerative medicine modalities to offer my patients. The focus of regenerative medicine is to repair and strengthen injured tissue and structures. It enhances the natural healing process of your own body. This leads to a stronger and a more lasting solution for your foot or ankle pain. 

Platelet rich plasma, or PRP is a well-established form of regenerative medicine using your own blood to cure your foot or ankle injury. Plasma is a clear fluid that makes up your blood and carries the components of blood such as blood cells, platelets and proteins. Platelet rich plasma is made from concentrated plasma. It is a higher level of platelets and proteins and they help your body create more cells to heal injuries. 

You should consider a PRP injection for a variety of foot and ankle injuries. These include Planter fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, Ankle sprains, tendon injuries, joint pain, and osteoarthritis. Prior to receiving a PRP injection, you will need to stop taking some medication that impacts the platelet formation. This includes over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen and aspirin. If you take anticoagulants, such as warfarin or Eliquis, you may not be a candidate for platelet rich plasma. You also should make sure that you eat before your visit. This way you won't be lightheaded during the process.

The PRP procedure is done entirely in the office. First, your blood is drawn. After that, it is placed in a centrifuge where it is spun at high speeds to separate the blood into different layers. We use the XCell PRP system by Apex Biologix. I chose the system because of their innovative system that only requires the blood to spin in the centrifuge for about 10 minutes. The proprietary extraction system allows me to control the composition of the sample to be injected. The result is a high concentration PRP sample that is ready to be injected into the injured area and to provide exceptional results. 

When I inject the PRP into the site of your injury, I'll use ultrasound to place the injection exactly at the injured tissue. How does a PRP injection work? Studies show that the increased concentration of growth factors in platelet-rich plasma stimulates and speeds up the healing process. That leads to a shortened healing time for injuries and decreased pain. 

After an injection of platelet rich plasma, there is not usually an immediate effect. The full effects of a PRP injection could be expected in 4-6 weeks. You should take a break from exercise and activity for the first couple of days after the injection. At that time, you can resume all activities without restriction. Because the PRP injection is derived entirely from your blood, there is nearly no chance of side effects after the injection. In fact, Platelet Rich plasma is a very low-risk procedure overall. The results of a PRP injection are usually dramatic and exceeds the expectations of our patients.