What is the role of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections in the treatment of plantar heel pain?

Updated: Oct 01, 2018
  • Author: Vinod K Panchbhavi, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Thomas C Dowd, MD  more...
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Answer

Platelets-rich plasma (PRP) is derived from autologous blood and contains high concentrations of growth factors necessary for tissue healing. The use of PRP in the treatment of plantar fasciitis is an evolving approach that is not yet widely accepted or practiced. [43]

A prospective study by Ragab et al evaluated 25 patients with chronic plantar fasciitis (mean age, 44 years) who were treated by means of PRP injection. [44] All patients were assessed for pain on the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) before and after injection. The thickness of the plantar fascia was measured ultrasonographically before injection and at each postinjection follow-up visit (mean follow-up, 10.3 months). Average preinjection pain was 9.1 on the VAS (range, 8-10). Before injection, 72% of patients had severe limitation of activities, and 28% of patients had moderate limitation of activities.

Average postinjection pain in this study was 1.6 on the VAS. [44] Twenty-two patients (88%) were completely satisfied, two (8%) were satisfied with reservations, and one (4%) was unsatisfied. Fifteen patients (60%) had no functional limitations post injection, and eight (32%) had minimal functional limitations. Two patients (8%) had moderate functional limitations post injection. Ultrasonography showed significant changes not only in thickness but also in the signal intensity of the plantar fascia after injection. None of these patients experienced any complications from PRP injection at the end of the follow-up period.


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