We’ve been using PRP to successfully treat tendon injuries for many years. This morning’s study is interesting as it combined an “in vitro” study and an “in vivo” human study to test the effectiveness of the use of a PRP Achilles Tendon Treatment.
PRP, or Platelet Rich Plasma is made by extracting and concentrating the platelets in a patient’s blood, and is becoming a more widely used treatment. Platelets contain healing growth factors that increase the body’s natural ability to repair itself. The platelets have a stimulating effect on the stem cells within the damaged area and since stem cells play a key role in repairing damaged tissue, anything which causes the stem cells to work harder promotes better healing in areas that have not been able to repair themselves.
The new study took samples from 20 patients whose ruptured Achilles Tendons had been treated with PRP, and 20 patients who were treated with a placebo, six weeks after treatment. The samples were taken from the healing area of the tendon. The samples were imbedded in paraffin and stained to examine healing markers. The results were that PRP improved healing by promoting better collagen I deposition, decreased cellularity, less vascularity, and greater concentration of glycosaminoglycan when compared with control samples, all of which simply means better healing was accomplished.
The upshot? There is no doubt that PRP turns on the healing switches needed for your body to heal tendons. What was significant about this study was that it looked at the healing process from an immunohistochemistry point of view, measuring the markers of in vivo healing in real human patients. This study clearly shows that PRP works to help Achilles tendons heal, the only question is now how well it works in a larger numbers of patients, which is something that a randomized controlled trial would help answer.