Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hip Update - Why Do I STILL Have Pain? PRP Therapy

I saw my ortho doctor a couple weeks ago, still having pain down the front of my thigh, with some minimal issues in my butt and upper hamstring area.  These two areas have hurt for a long, long time.  It's what I initially went to my current ortho doctor for in the first place.  That was almost three years ago.  He thought it was my piriformis and my lower back.

He prescribed physical therapy and after about (no running), there seemed to be some improvement.  Tried to get back into running and it all came back.  Stopped running for a while and tried to start again..  several times...  the pain always came back so I went back to the doctor.  That was this past December, 2010.  Again, they thought it was my lower back; had MRI of my lower back...   no, not my lower back.

And that's when they finally thought it might be my hip.  MRa of the hip, and lo and behold, the disease had come back (see posts, and on top of that I had a labral tear.  So, they said the pain down the front of my thigh and the issues in my butt and upper hamstring were from my hip.

Surgery on the hip March 31, followed by four months of physical therapy...   hip's doing great!  But I was still have pain down the front of my thigh and in my butt and upper hamstring area.  So, I had two MRI's, one of my front thigh area and one of the upper hamstring area.  Results:  front thigh area is okay, but I have a torn hamstring tendon, a partial avulsion.  What's funny to me is that it just didn't really hurt.  It has not felt "right" for a long time, but has not been painful.  I just figured it was strained from the hip issues and would get better as the hip healed.  But it didn't.

So, my ortho doc suggested PRP therapy.  What is that?  PRP stands for platelet rich plasma.  The therapy has actually been around since the 90's, used in dental surgery.  It only quite recently has been used in sports medicine--for muscle, tendon, and ligament repair.  Some high profile athletes have been turning to the therapy with reportedly good results--Tiger Woods, Pittsburg Steelers' Hines Ward, and Alex Rodriquez, to name a few.  The theory behind it is that the platelets in the blood contain what they call healing growth factors.  If, say a tendon injury has become chronic and won't heal on its own using conventional conservative methods such as rest and physical therapy, an injection (or two) of this PRP could help the body along to heal the injury by providing a concentration of these healing factors to the area.

I had a PRP injection last Friday.  They take some blood from your arm, just one small vial, and then put it in a centrifuge to remove the platelets.  The doctor then injects this "platelet rich plasma" into the area so that it gets this concentrated infusion in hopes of helping the body heal itself.  The injection itself wasn't so bad.  After he inserted the needle, he moved it around the area; I guess just "needling" the injury will encourage the body to heal.  Afterwards, the area was quite sore, and for several days I really didn't want to walk much.  But I did swim the next day, as the doctor said that would be good for it.

The doc said another injection might be needed in six weeks, that is very typical.  If six weeks after the second injection there is no improvement, then I am looking at surgical repair of the tendon.  But I am very hopeful that this will work.

Here are some videos I found about the procedure:

1 comment:

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