New Treatment for Foot Pain
More than 75 percent of all American adults will experience foot or ankle pain at some point in their lives. If you happen to be one of them, you already know how such pain can limit every day life. But by harnessing your body’s own healing abilities, a quick treatment may get you back on your feet in no time.
Because there can be many causes—from acute injuries to chronic conditions—there is a range of treatment for foot pain. The first and most conservative line of defense is almost always rest, often along with some combination of stretching, anti-inflammatory medications and over-the-counter inserts to provide support. More severe problems may require physical therapy, bracing and boots or custom orthotics.
But if the above steps still fail to produce the desired result, physicians now have another low-risk, outpatient treatment available: an injection of your own platelet enriched plasma.
Get Back on Your Feet Quicker
“In most cases, platelet-rich plasma—PRP—can decrease or completely eliminate the pain, contributing to a speedier recovery,” says Caitlin Zarick, MD, a podiatric surgeon at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and proponent of the relatively new approach. “Most patients get back on their feet within a few days and can resume regular activity within a month. As a result, PRP treatment is quickly gaining popularity.”
During the less than 30-minute procedure, some blood is withdrawn from the patient and then placed in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets, the component that helps with clotting, healing and tissue growth. Then the platelet-rich plasma—now containing three to five times more growth factors than normal— is injected into affected area.
This treatment for foot pain may involve one injection or a series of three to five, depending on the injury and its response to PRP. Immediately following the procedure, you may need to limit motion or weight-bearing movement and your doctor may prescribe a boot or brace for short-term use.