A recent clinical study of 118 patients with plantar fasciitis compared the effects of local autologous platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to methylprednisolone injections. The results showed superiority of PRP over steroid injections in improving patients' pain and functional outcomes.
Plantar fasciitis is a very common cause of heel pain, with more than 3 million cases in the United States per year. It is the inflammation of the plantar fascia - a thick band of tissue that runs from the heel to the toes and supports the arch of the foot.
Nearly 80% of patients with plantar fasciitis experience relief from conservative treatment options, including:
For patients who don't respond to these treatments, clinicians may perform an invasive procedure called local infiltration with steroids.
While this procedure is effective, it only provides short-term relief. Patients are also at increased risk of complications, such as local infections and gradual loss of the heel fat pad. Some patients who undergo multiple injections may also rupture their plantar fascia.
Although the cause of plantar fasciitis is unknown, researchers believe cytokines and growth factors play a significant role in its treatment. PRP is a rich source of these growth factors, as well as several other anti-inflammatory cytokines. This combination is thought to heal and reverse degeneration of the plantar fascia.
Previous studies have demonstrated the superiority of PRP over steroid injections in treating plantar fasciitis. However, many studies involved only a small number of patients.
The present study included 118 patients with plantar fasciitis who did not respond to conservative treatments. The patients were randomized into 2 groups - 58 patients to the PRP group and 60 to the corticosteroid (methylprednisolone) group.
All patients had their pain assessed using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) on the day of the procedure and at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months after treatment.
Another primary concern for patients with plantar fasciitis is the ability to return to daily activities. To evaluate patients' functional improvement, the investigators used the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) hindfoot score at the 6-month follow-up appointment.
The results showed greater improvements for both pain and function in the PRP group than in the steroid group 6 months following treatment. The differences became more pronounced as time from injection increased, with maximum benefit observed at 6 months.
The strength of this study came from its large sample size compared to previous studies, which enhance the reliability and credibility of the findings. Considering the effectiveness of PRP, the authors of the study recommend its use as the preferred treatment for plantar fasciitis.
Treating plantar fasciitis can pose a frustrating challenge for patients and physicians alike. Patients need an alternative, effective solution to their pain.
This study provides strong evidence of the superiority of PRP for treating plantar fasciitis.
But not all PRP preparations are the same. Unlike gel separators that capture the platelets within the gel, Dr. PRP kits allow you to create PRP with the concentrations you want. Our platelet recovery percentage is higher than the minimum recovery percentage of similar products from our competitors. Discover the difference at our online store.
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