The Care and Keeping of Healthy Joints
The moveable joints that allow our knees and elbows to function smoothly are made up of cartilage, bone, ligaments, and fluid. When these structures and the bones they are attached to in our legs and arms are healthy and well cared for, we can move easily and without the risk of painful bone-on-bone friction. Joint health is important because it contributes to the wellbeing of our bones and muscles and allows us to engage in activities such as running, jumping, and walking. The bottom line when it comes to our joints is this: whether you are interested in functional fitness, sports fitness, or simply the ability to get from one point of your home to another, you need your joints to be in good working order. The Care and Keeping of Healthy Joints.
Platelet rich plasma is a concentrated mixture of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and the liquid portion of blood known as plasma. Though platelets are known more commonly for their clotting factors, they are utilized in PRP treatment because of their growth factor proteins.
Prior to injecting plasma rich platelets, blood must be drawn and then placed in a centrifuge that separates the blood’s components. During this centrifugation, platelet concentration increases dramatically and is then combined with the blood that was initially drawn. Once this platelet- rich plasma has been collected, it can in turn be injected into the joint requiring relief, along with a local anesthetic. Though the benefit from this treatment may take a few weeks, the reduction in pain after that period of time can be dramatic. For surgical patients, platelet rich plasma can be injected into the surgical site, in a way that allows the healing materials to be inserted directly into the tissue.
While several factors, such as the extent of damage to the joint, the patient’s age and health status, as well as the area being treated, are all issues with which to contend, PRP treatments have shown promising results. Patients with osteoarthritis and moderate joint damage have reported a decrease in pain, an increase in quality of life, and improved cartilage thickness.