Dr. Soomekh uses revolutionary Platelet-Rich-Plasma Therapy for chronic heel pain (Plantar Fasciitis)
- Posted on: Apr 21 2016
Plantar fasciitis is a very common condition of the heel. It is the most common diagnosed cause of heel pain. It will affect about 1 million people each year. Dr. Soomekh has been using platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) therapy for the treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis for the last 6 years. His results have been increasingly promising with regards to decreased pain, increased activity, improved function, faster recovery, and increased strength. The use of PRP in the clinical setting is advantageous for its ease of use, relative availability, lack side effects, and tolerability, as compared to more invasive techniques.
Dr. Soomekh performs the procedure in the office under local anesthesia using ultrasound guidance.
Platelets are basic cells in our bodies that produce special proteins called growth factors. These growth factors are responsible for healing damage to tissues and wounds and clotting. When there is an injury to part of the body the platelets will rush to the area of injury to begin the healing process. This is part of what is called inflammation. This is true for a new or what is called “acute” injury. In cases of long standing injury or “chronic” injury, there is less inflammation and a low concentration of platelets around the site of injury. In effect, the injury is not being aided by healing factors because it is now an “old” injury.
The idea behind injections of platelet-rich-plasma is to purposefully introduce an increased concentration of the patient’s own platelets into the site of injury. Once there are more platelets around the area, there are then more healing factors in the area, creating an environment that can promote healing. Additionally, the simple act of the needle being introduced several times into the site of injury will stimulate and injure the tissue. The body will think this area is now a new injury. Effectively we are taking and old chronic injury and changing it to a new acute injury, while at the same time introducing even more platelets.
The process of acquiring the platelets is simple. Blood is drawn from the patient’s arm, in the same way one gives blood at the family doctor’s office. The patient’s blood is then spun down in a centrifuge in order to separate the platelets from the rest of the cells in the blood. The high concentration of platelets is now collected in a syringe ready to be injected into the site of injury.
Those patients that have failed conservative therapies are good candidates for platelet-rich-plasma injections.
These injections are a midway approach to help heal chronic plantar fasciitis between conservative care and surgery.