PRP is short for platelet rich plasma. This is regenerative medicine that is injected into injured areas. PRP is created by taking a blood sample and spinning it at a high speed in a machine to separate the different types of red blood cells. The plasma containing a high proportion of platelets is injected into the injured area. The platelets contain healing cells of the body so this can improve the recovery.
How is a PRP injection administered?
The injection will often be carried out using ultrasound for guiding the needle placement, which will improve the accuracy and outcomes for you.
Is a PRP injection painful when administered?
For some injections, local anaesthetic is administered beforehand to numb the area. Local anaesthetic injections sting for a few seconds, but once they are working, you shouldn’t feel pain during the PRP injection. As with all local anaesthetic injections, you will feel movement and pressure, but pain should be eliminated.
Recovery following a PRP injection
After the injection, you will usually use a walking boot with crutches. Sometimes a region of the foot is blocked with anaesthetic which can make parts of the foot numb for a few hours, and may make walking challenging for this period. It is for this reason that you should be prepared to take it easy afterwards and you will normally need a walking boot and crutches for the first week.
After one week you can stop using the boot and crutches and transition into a structured running shoe, and gradually resume your usual walking levels. Depending on your condition and symptoms your podiatrist will discuss when and how you can return to higher impact activities.
Pain management following a PRP injection
There should not be any immediate pain but there may be some soreness after the anaesthetic wears off. You can take painkillers such as paracetamol to help with this but try to avoid ibuprofen.
Frequently asked questions
Exercise following a PRP injection would need to be discussed with your foot specialist. Soft tissue structures usually need at least 3 weeks before consideration of increasing activities beyond walking.
Following a PRP injection you cannot drive until the anaesthesia has worn off. You will need to rest with short minimal walking for one week afterwards. No high impact activities including running and jumping during this period. You should also avoid taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen.