Platelet-rich plasma injections for knees: how they can help

697bb03a7f17953536b71d727b082e282-minute read

A knee injury can slow you down and make it hard to go about your daily life. Although not for everyone, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections for knees might be the solution you need to recover.

How PRP injections for knees work

Blood platelets and white blood cells contain proteins called growth factors that help damaged tissue recover after an injury. PRP injections for knees contain a high concentration of platelets. PRP treatment starts with your clinician removing some of your blood and putting it into a machine called a centrifuge. The centrifuge separates the platelets from the other parts of your blood, and those platelets are then injected back into your knee. It’s unclear how PRP therapy works, but the theory is that the growth factors in platelets reduce inflammation and help tissue repair itself.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, PRP injections have few risks other than pain at the injection site.

First line of defense for knee injuries

Not all insurance providers cover the cost of PRP treatment, so your provider might recommend more conservative treatments before opting for PRP for your knee injury.

The RICE method can successfully treat many injuries. It involves:

· Rest: Allowing time for the injured knee to heal by avoiding weight-bearing activities

· Ice: Applying ice packs to reduce pain and swelling

· Compression: Wrapping the knee to minimize swelling

· Elevation: Keeping the knee elevated to further reduce swelling

If RICE doesn’t help, your provider might recommend a knee brace, physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or some combination of those treatments.

PRP injections might be an option if your knee injury doesn’t respond to those treatments.

Knee injuries that can benefit from PRP

Currently, PRP injections are used to treat muscle and ligament injuries, including:

· ACL sprains — injuries resulting from sudden stops or changes in direction during sports activities

· Meniscus injuries — swelling and stiffness often caused by sports-related trauma or wear and tear

· Runner’s knee — a painful condition related to overuse, misalignment, or weak quadriceps muscles

PRP injections are sometimes used after surgeries, such as meniscus repairs, to speed healing. There’s some evidence PRP therapy can help treat knee osteoarthritis, a chronic joint condition, but success largely depends on the type of PRP injection used and the level of joint deterioration in the knee.

What to expect from PRP knee injections

The PRP injection process takes about an hour, and many people can return home the same day. While mild pain, redness, or swelling might occur at the injection site, serious side effects are rare. The effects of PRP are usually noticeable within four to six weeks, with continued improvements over six to nine months as the platelet-rich plasma continues to provide growth factors to support healing.

Overcoming a knee injury

It can take time to get back in action after a knee injury. If you return too quickly, your injury might get worse.

Follow your clinician’s advice, whether you have a PRP injection or another treatment to keep your knees healthy and protect them from a future injury.

Knees bothering you? Request an appointment with a Reid Health orthopedic surgeon to find out if PRP injections could get you back in the game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *