Arthritis is the term used to describe conditions that result in the joints becoming swollen or inflamed. It affects millions of people across the UK and research is constantly underway to find new methods to treat it. Renowned and highly skilled senior football and sports medicine physician, Dr David Porter discusses how platelet-rich plasma injections are being investigated with promising results.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is an umbrella term that includes conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. If someone has arthritis, they experience inflammation of a joint, which over time will result in the wearing-down of cartilage and damage to the bone within the joint.
How prevalent is arthritis?
In the UK, arthritis affects more than 10 million people in their lifetime. The most common condition is osteoarthritis, with approximately one in ten adults being diagnosed with it.
Can platelet-rich plasma injections treat osteoarthritis?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are effective treatment options for those suffering from arthritis. Despite PRP having been used clinically to promote cell regeneration for many years, it has only been considered recently as a treatment for osteoarthritis. In 2013, a study involving 78 patients, who had osteoarthritis in both knees, found that PRP injections reduced their pain and stiffness, while also improving their knee functionality. Other studies have found similarly promising results.
How can PRP help treat osteoarthritis?
PRP is administered with the aim of reducing pain, restoring the function of the knee, and preventing further cartilage damage. The high concentration of platelets promotes the secretion of growth factors in the affected joint, like the regulation of cell division, the stimulation of tissue regeneration, and promoted healing of damaged tissue.
Numerous theories have been put forward, as to why PRP is a promising treatment for osteoarthritis. Such theories include:
- PRP reduces inflammation. By inhibiting inflammatory markets, PRP helps to prevent osteoarthritis from worsening.
- PRP stimulates stem cells. As a result, new cartilage forms in the arthritic joint.
- PRP increases fluid production in the joint. Friction is reduced and so is pain.
- PRP contains proteins that can change pain receptor responses. The sensation of pain is, therefore, reduced.
Although there are just theories, there have been promising widespread improvements for those who have used PRP as an osteoarthritic treatment.
If you are interested in finding out more about PRP, the conditions it can treat, or would like information on other treatments available for arthritis, you can book a consultation with Dr David Porter directly on his Top Doctor’s profile.