PRP Therapy: Why It's a Game-Changer for Arthritic Joints

Do stiff, achy joints slow down your days? About one-quarter of US adults have some arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of joint disease. 

Painful arthritis of the knee, shoulder, wrist, hip, or other joint can send you to the doctor and the hospital. Our board-certified surgeon, Dr. Jonathan Shults, with Coastal Empire Orthopedics, treats many patients with arthritis

Once thought of as simply a condition of wear and tear, doctors now understand that arthritis is a progressive disease that can destroy cartilage, induce inflammation, and modify bone shape, leading to chronic pain and eventual loss of mobility. Treating osteoarthritis in its earliest stages presents the best outcomes. 

The medical profession has traditionally treated osteoarthritis with physical therapy, prescription drugs, injections, and surgery, along with recommendations for lifestyle modifications, including eating an anti-inflammatory diet, maintaining a normal weight, and getting regular exercise. 

Platelet-rich plasma for arthritis 

The scientific community is working to harness the body's healing powers in treating many health conditions, including arthritis. Regenerative medicine is becoming an integral part of orthopedic treatments and is revolutionizing orthopedic practice today. 

PRP is an all-natural regenerative medicine treatment that does not involve drugs, anesthesia, incisions, stitches, or surgery. It’s a noninvasive and less expensive option than surgery, and in some cases, it may help delay surgery for several years. It’s not surprising that many patients are eager to try this therapy. 

If Dr. Shults thinks you’re a good candidate for PRP, our staff draws a sample of your blood. 

Your blood is mixed in a machine in a centrifuge where parts of your blood cells, called platelets, are collected in a large mass. The platelets are separated from your plasma, the liquid part of your blood. 

Platelets produce substances called growth factors that contain healing nutrients. The mass of platelets in the blood we inject at the site of your arthritis rushes nutrients to the site. It contains many times the number of platelets found around your injured joint. The therapy aids in tissue regeneration. Your body may start to rebuild cartilage. 

PRP for arthritis treatment is promising but more research is needed

In the past few years, many medical practices have added PRP as a new tool to the arthritis treatment toolbox. While not a standard therapy, PRP is widely used in orthopedic practices. Once the media reported that Tiger Woods and other athletes were given PRP to help heal injuries, its use began to rise. 

Initial studies of PRP are promising, but some research is mixed, most likely because of differences in the administration of PRP. While more research remains to be done, many patients report improved outcomes from PRP. 

PRP treatment aims to reduce pain, improve mobility, and decrease stiffness. Scientists think that PRP can slow the progression of arthritis, giving you many more years of ability to function and enjoy life.  

PRP may be most helpful when arthritis is mild to moderate. Some studies report that patients may feel relief for up to two years

If you have painful arthritis, call Coastal Empire Orthopedics or book an appointment online today. We can help you get moving again.

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