(Platelet-rich Plasma)

Runner's World (UK) - - Injury Treatment -

WHAT IS IT? PRP therapy uses a run­ner’s own blood to stim­u­late the heal­ing process in a ten­don or joint. Doc­tors draw a small amount of blood from a patient’s arm and spin it in a cen­trifuge, which iso­lates platelets and plasma con­tain­ing heal­ing pro­teins, says Dr Jonathan Drezner of the Univer­sity of Wash­ing­ton Sports Medicine Cen­ter in the US. The PRP is then in­jected into the in­jured area to spur car­ti­lage, ten­don and mus­cle re­gen­er­a­tion.

WHAT DOES IT TREAT? It is gen­er­ally used to treat chronic in­juries, in­clud­ing ham­string and Achilles ten­don prob­lems. ‘The worse the ten­don de­gen­er­a­tion is, the bet­ter PRP tends to work,’ says Drezner. He sug­gests try­ing the tra­di­tional pro­to­cols first: ice, rest, biome­chan­i­cal adjustments and phys­io­ther­apy. But if those fail, ‘PRP can be life-chang­ing’, he says.

HOW EF­FEC­TIVE? The stud­ies on PRP show mixed re­sults, though a re­view in the jour­nal Cur­rent Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal

Biotech­nol­ogy eval­u­ated the ef­fec­tive­ness of PRP in sports medicine cases and con­cluded that it may help con­nec­tive tis­sue heal when other treat­ments have failed.

WHO’S HAD IT? Three-time US Olympic Marathon Trials qual­i­fier Michelle Lilien­thal re­port­edly used PRP to treat chronic ham­string pain.

DOES IT HURT? Drezner says that the in­jec­tion may be un­com­fort­able, ‘but no one has ever jumped off the ta­ble’.

WHO OF­FERS IT? Larger sports medicine clin­ics, such as the Lon­don Or­thopaedic Clinic.

WHAT’S THE COST? Around £900 to £1,200 (Lon­don Or­thopaedic Clinic). Les­s­ex­pen­sive treat­ments may not use ul­tra­sound to place the in­jec­tion, which, Drezner notes is key for ten­don is­sues. ‘This treat­ment is about pre­ci­sion, and ul­tra­sound al­lows us to be pre­cise.’

TREAT­MENT PLAN? Most run­ners ben­e­fit from a sin­gle in­jec­tion, though some re­quire a sec­ond treat­ment three to six months later.

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