Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy can help many patients find relief from the pain and stiffness caused by arthritis, often resulting in improved joint function. Currently to date, there are no studies demonstrating restoration or healing of cartilage loss. One small study suggests that the rate of cartilage degeneration may slow down with PRP treatment.
PRP remains a symptomatic treatment and is not a cure for arthritis. While this treatment isn’t for everyone, it remains an option for those patients suffering from the pain of arthritis. Before you can decide if you should give it a try, you need to consider many variables about your overall health. When patients come to Andrew B. Richardson, MD, for arthritis management, he offers in-depth medical care and expert guidance about whether they should try PRP therapy and, if so, when.
If you’re wondering about PRP injections for arthritis, here’s some information about how it works, why it helps arthritis, and when it might be time to consider PRP therapy.
PRP diminishes joint inflammation
When you suffer an injury or when a disease like arthritis damages tissues, platelets travel through your blood to the site and release growth factors that trigger an inflammatory response that promotes healing. Platelets carry many types of growth factors, and each one has a specific role to play in healing. As a group, however, growth factors do things like:
- Regulate inflammation
- Recruit stem cells to the area
- Stimulate new blood vessel growth
- Prevent degeneration of healthy tissues
- Activate healing activities in nearby cells
- Build the matrix that supports new cells regenerated by stem cells
PRP is may be beneficial for arthritis because it appears to reduce ongoing inflammation, which helps all types of arthritis.
Deciding when it’s time to try PRP therapy
PRP’s potential to improve arthritis makes it worth trying, but there aren’t currently any treatment protocols to guide your decision. That’s why Dr. Richardson works closely with each patient, monitoring the progression of their arthritis and recommending customized treatment that works for their health.
Though treatment protocols could change in the future, PRP is not presently used in the initial treatment for arthritis. Instead, it’s a second- or third-line option to consider after conservative therapies fail to alleviate your arthritis symptoms.
You can generally think of PRP as a therapy that’s done after standard treatment such as physical therapy and before surgery, often around the time you may need corticosteroid or hyaluronic acid injections. The timing is different for each patient, but we can help you make the best decision.
If you have any questions about PRP or other treatments for arthritis, call Andrew B. Richardson, MD, or use the online scheduling feature to make an appointment at the office that’s most convenient for you.