PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Therapy


Regenerative Injection Therapy with Growth Factors in PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) is an alternative approach to healing tendon and ligament injuries.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Regenerative Injection Therapy with Growth Factors in PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) is an alternative approach to healing tendon and ligament injuries.

Athletes and active individuals who endure chronic pain from tendon or ligaments injuries or osteoarthritis may finally get relief from a safe, non-surgical procedure. It’s called Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy, and it utilizes platelets from the individual’s own blood to rebuild a damaged tendon or cartilage. It has been successful in not only relieving the pain, but also in jumpstarting the healing process.

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy is done at a doctor’s office and takes less than a hour. The patient’s blood is drawn and placed in a centrifuge for 15 minutes per PRP to separate out the platelets. The platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the damaged portion of the tendon or cartilage with the guidance of an ultrasound machine.

Patients are put on a program of relative rest 1-2 weeks followed by physical therapy for about 4 weeks. After about 6-12 weeks, patients are re-evaluated for improvement. Some patients with more severe injuries may require more than one injection to achieve successful outcomes. The majority of PRP patients find that within 2-3 months they can return to most or all of the activities they were doing before the pain started.

What are Tendons and Ligaments?

Tendons, composed of collagen fibers, connect muscle to one making it possible for you perform every day physical activities. Overuse or damage to tendons over a long period of time causes the collagen fibers in tendons to form small tears, a condition called tendinopathy. Damage most often occurs in the knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, wrist, biceps, calf, hamstrings, and Achilles tendons.

Ligaments are also composed of collagen fibers, connecting one to bone i.e. joints: ankles, knees, shoulders, spine, etc, stabilizing the joint and controlling the range of motion. A damaged ligament is no longer able to provide support, weakening the joints and shifting the burden of support to muscles (and then to the tendons) which should primarily act as movement engines. Tendons and ligaments have poor blood supply particularly where they connect to bone (enthuses). One injured (sprains or strains) they do not heal easily and the damage progresses with the stress of day-to-day activities. As a result the tendons and ligaments become inefficient, the muscles are over-taxed causing chronic pain and weakness and further damage to the joints. Medical intervention may be necessary.

What is Platelet Rich Plasma?

Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP is blood plasma with concentrated platelets. The concentrated platelets found in PRP contain huge reservoirs of bioactive proteins, including growth factors that are vital to initiate and accelerate tissue repair and regeneration. These bioactive proteins initiate connective tissue healing: bone, tendon, and ligament regeneration and repair, promote development of new blood vessels, and stimulate the wound healing process.

How does PRP Therapy work?

To prepare PRP, a small amount of blood is taken from the patient. The blood is then placed in a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins and automatically produces the PRP. The entire process takes less than 15 min. and increases the concentration of platelets and growth factors up to 500%.

When PRP is injected into the damage area it stimulates the tendon or ligament, causing mild inflammation that triggers the healing cascade. As a result new collagen begins to develop. As this collagen matures it begins to shrink causing the tightening and strengthening of the tendons or ligaments of the damaged area.

What are the potential benefits?

Patients can see a significant improvement in symptoms. This may eliminate the need for more aggressive treatments such as long term medication or surgery as well as a remarkable return of function.

Common PRP injection Application Sites and Indications :

  • Spine (Neck pain, Back pain, whiplash injury)
  • Shoulders (such as rotator cuff tendinopathy or tear)
  • Elbows (such as Tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow)
  • Wrists and hands
  • Hip/Pelvis (hip labrum tear, sacroiliac sprain)
  • Knee (ACL, MCL, PCL, cartilage or meniscus tear)
  • Ankle and foot (such as Achilles’ tendonitis or tear, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs)
  • All arthritic joints

I’ve heard of Cortisone Shots-is this the same?

Studies have shown that cortisone injections may actually weaken tissue. Cortisone shots may provide temporary pain relief and stop inflammation, but they do not provide long term healing. PRP therapy heals and strengthens these tendons and ligaments, strengthening and thickening the tissue up to 40% in some cases.

What can be treated?

PRP injections can be performed in tendons and ligaments all over the body. Sports injuries, arthritic joints, lower back, degenerative disc disease and more specific injuries including tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, ACL tears, shin splints, rotator cuff tears, plantar fasciitis and iliotibial band syndrome may all be effectively treated with PRP, as mentioned in the above list.

How many treatments are necessary and how often is this therapy administered?

While responses to treatments vary, most people will require 1-3, some as many as 6 sets of injections. Each set of treatments is spaced approximately 4-6 weeks apart. There is no limit to the number of treatments you can have, the risks and side effects do not change with the number of injections.

Is PRP right for me?

If you have a tendon or ligament injury and traditional methods have not provided relief, then PRP therapy may be the solution. The procedure is less aggressive and less expensive than surgery. It will heal tissue with minimal or no scarring and alleviates further degeneration of the tissues. There will be an initial evaluation with your doctor to see if PRP therapy is right for you.

Are there any special instructions?

You are restricted from the use of non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) one week prior to the procedure and throughout the course of treatments.

Initially the procedure may cause some localized soreness and discomfort. Most patients only require some extra-strength Tylenol to help with the pain. Ice and heat may be applied to the area as needed.

The first week after the procedure, patients will typically start a rehabilitation program with physical therapy. However, aggressive physical activity is discouraged.

Does insurance pay for PRP?

Currently most insurances do not cover PRP.

What is the cost of PRP treatment?

The cost of PRP treatment varies based on number of injections you receive. A single injection costs $600 per area.

How long do I have to wait to return to my normal activities?

It depends on the condition and body part being treated.

  • Sometimes injections in the elbow or shoulder may be placed in a sling for 48 hours to 1 week or more and then as needed for comfort.
  • For the ankle (Achilles tendon, peroneal tendon, plantar fascia), you will be required to wear a walking boot for up to one to two weeks after the injection. If the injection is on the right side, you will not be able to drive with the boot on.
  • If you have an injection in your knee for osteoarthritis, you only need to rest for 24 hours and then you can return to your normal activities. If the injection is in your patellar tendon or quadriceps tendon, your knee will be placed in a knee immobilizer for 1-2 days.
  • All procedures, except for possibly knee osteoarthritis, will begin therapy 1-2 week(s) after the injection.

Can I drive home after the PRP injection?

If the injection is in your right knee or ankle, you will not be allowed to drive home. If the injection is located in any other body part, you may drive yourself home after the injection.

Will I need to complete physical therapy?

Most likely, yes. The physician will most likely prescribe physical therapy to help you regain your strength, mobility, and function. Typical physical therapy programs last approximately 4-6 weeks. Your insurance company usually covers physical therapy, but you should call your insurance company to confirm.

Do I need to schedule a follow up appointment?

Yes, the physician will want to see you back in clinic to check your progress. You will be asked to make a follow up appointment 4-6 weeks following the injection.

Can I take my normal medication(s) before and after the injection?

Do not take anti-inflammatory medication such as Advil, Aleve, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Mobic, Naproxen, Nabumetone, or Diclofenac for 7 days prior to the injection and 6 weeks after the last injection. Pain medication will be prescribed the day of the procedure to be taken as needed. A regular aspirin regimen (81mg/day) is okay. Tylenol/Acetaminophen is allowed.

What should I do if I think I’m a candidate?

  • If you live near Peoria, IL, we recommend scheduling an appointment for a consultation so that we can look at your imaging studies and examine you to determine if you are a good candidate or not.
  • If you live more than 2 hours away, please work with your local health care professional to send us the following:
    1. Recent x-ray and/or MRI (no more than a few months old)
    2. Medical Records (pertaining to your injury)
    3. Send your images and records to us for review-please include your contact information.

Not all patients are candidates for PRP injections. Please read this list of frequently asked questions above to determine if you are a candidate. If you have any other questions, please contact us at (309)689-8888.

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Center for Pain Management and Rehab
10326 N. Juliet Ct
Peoria, IL 61615
Phone: 309-296-0666
Fax: 309-689-8410
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