Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy Purpose and Effectiveness in Orthopedic related Conditions.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)

During the past several years, much has been written about a preparation called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and its potential effectiveness in the treatment of injuries.

Even though PRP has received extensive publicity, there are still lingering questions about it, such as:

  • What is platelet-rich plasma?
  • How does it work?
  • What conditions are being treated with PRP?
  • Is PRP treatment effective?

What Is Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)?

Although blood is mainly a liquid (called plasma), it also contains small solid components (red cells, white cells, and platelets.) The platelets contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors, which are very important in the healing of injuries.

PRP is plasma with many more platelets than what is typically found in blood. The concentration of platelets — and, thereby, the concentration of growth factors — can be 5 to 10 times greater (or richer) than usual.

How Does PRP Work?

The laboratory studies have shown that the increased concentration of growth factors in PRP can potentially speed up the healing process.

 PRP can be carefully injected into the injured area. For example, in Achilles tendonitis, a condition commonly seen in runners and tennis players, the heel cord can become swollen, inflamed, and painful. A mixture of PRP and local anesthetic can be injected directly into this inflamed tissue. Afterwards, the pain at the area of injection may actually increase for the first week or two, and it may be several weeks before the patient feels a beneficial effect.

What Conditions are Treated with PRP? Is It Effective?

  • Osteoarthritis (All affected joints e.g., hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle)
  • Tendonitis/ Chronic tendon injuries
  • Ligament/muscle injuries
  • Muscle sprains
  • Joint pain (e.g., hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle)
  • Tendon injuries (Torn Achilles)
  • Tennis elbow
  • Soft tissue sports injuries (muscles, tendons and ligaments)
  • Nerve damage and injury
  • Non-healing wounds
  • Back and spine conditions
  • Arthritis related pain. 


Treatment with platelet-rich plasma holds great promise. Although PRP does appear to be effective in the treatment of chronic tendon injuries. 

Even though the success of PRP therapy is still questionable, the risks associated with it are minimal: There may be increased pain at the injection site, but the incidence of other problems — infection, tissue damage, nerve injuries — appears to be no different from that associated with cortisone injections.