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Can Runners Benefit from Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy?

March 30, 2012

Competitive runners are plagued by nagging injuries. It could be the knee, the hip or the achilles tendon. It could be acute, chronic stiffness and soreness in the area that sometimes you can run off…but most of the time it simply gets worse.

To ease the pain and treat these injuries runners usually turn to ice, stretching and even ultra-sounds…but there comes a time when those therapies don’t even work. It can get so bad that you’ll start to limp.

Ever been in that type of condition? And do you think its time for more drastic measures?

Sometimes runners will undergo an MRI to find tears in their tendons. Sometimes you’ll  have to undergo surgery for that injury…other times you can opt for platelet rich plasma therapy.

[See the Ultimate Guide to PRP Therapy for more information.]

Although the research is lagging behind the science of PRP therapy, there have been enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that the treatment will help a runner recover. The treatment is a simple doctor visit versus surgery which could lead to months of recovery time and rest. The procedure involves nothing more than your blood being drawn [this is not blood doping by the way], spun in a machine called a centrifuge that separates the plasma, which is then injected into the affected area.

Some people believe it works because the body is given it’s own growth factors which feed the injury the nutrients it needs to heal itself.

Healing itself is a good thing.

PRP therapy works great for injuries to tendons like inflammation or tears, but it’s not a cure all. Speak to your doctor before pursuing such a course of treatment. Sometimes these injuries can get better through physical therapy our own their own.

This is an expensive procedure and is not covered by insurance.

Dr. Rick Lehman is a distinguished orthopedic surgeon in St. Louis, Missouri and an articular cartilage reconstruction pioneer He owns U. S. Sports Medicine in Kirkwood, MO, and LehmanHealth. Learn more about Dr. Rick.

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