Tiger Woods is one of the high-profile athletes that has used PRP injections. KAMRAN JEBREILI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Photo: Kamran Jebreili
Photo: Kamran Jebreili

What are platelet-rich plasma injections? Why is Tiger Woods a fan?

The only thing worse than sustaining an injury to the body is not being able to find a therapy that will help it get better.

Jeffrey James, a DO with Premier Orthopedics, believes there’s hope to that problem through a therapy called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, a newer technique designed to promote healing by using the body’s own reparative processes. Platelets are the body’s best reparative agent to injuries. PRP injections deliver high-concentration of these healing agents directly to the injury, jump-starting the healing process and, in some cases, speeding it up.

PRP injections are created by taking platelets from a person’s blood through an in-office procedure. Once a patient’s blood is drawn, it is then spun through a special centrifuge device that separates the platelets from all other aspects of the blood. The isolated platelets are then injected back into the area of injury by use of ultrasound to ensure a precise delivery, Dr. James said.

“Platelet-rich plasma injections are different from other injections used to instantly relieve joint pain,” Dr. James said. “This is a healing treatment that is completed through multiple injections. However, the end-result is a more effective and sometimes quicker recovery.”

PRP injections have gained national exposure in recent years due to high-profile athletes, such as golfer Tiger Woods and tennis star Rafael Nadal, receiving the therapy for various problems such as sprained knees or chronic tendon injuries. Some athletes have credited PRP with being able to return more quickly to competition, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

However, one doesn’t have to be a star athlete to benefit from PRP nor do they have to travel far to get it, said Dr. James, who practices with Premier Health Specialists. Premier Orthopedics offers the therapy to anyone in the Greater Dayton area who has sustained an injury that doesn’t seem to be healing with other standard of care medical treatments such as steroid injections, prescribed stretching routines and physical therapy.

“Achilles tendinopathy is a type of injury that would benefit from PRP,” Dr. James said. “People with this condition get large nodules on their heel and it is very painful. After they’ve tried all the general treatments — from anti-inflammatories to creams to stretching and physical therapy — the next option would be surgery. The PRP injections is something they could try in place of surgery.”

Dr. James said candidates for PRP injections can vary to include a young athlete who wants to speed up a recovery to get back into the game to older adults who are struggling with chronic pain secondary to arthritis or other problems where their cartilage or tendons are not healing properly.

For more information on platelet-rich plasma injections or to find a Premier Health Specialist healthcare provider near you, go online to www.premierhealthspecialists.com/ortho.

Premier HealthNet is one of the largest groups of pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, and urgent care practices in southwest Ohio. For more information, go online to www.premierhealthnet.com/news.

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