Arthritis is a term that encompasses several different conditions, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The underlying pathophysiology of these conditions lies with inflammation of the joint, eventually resulting in a destruction of the cartilage and bone within the joint itself.
The prevalence of this condition is astonishing, with more than 10 million people in the UK alone being affected by arthritis at some stage in their life. Osteoarthritis is one of the most prevalent arthritic conditions, with current statistics estimating that one in ten adults in the UK has symptomatic clinically diagnosed osteoarthritis. These figures alone call for more effective treatment options to be administered. This is where platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections come in.
PRP has been adopted in clinical practice to promote cell regeneration for decades; however, only recently has it been considered as a potential approach to treating osteoarthritis. A 2013 study of 78 patients with osteoarthritis in both knees revealed that PRP injections resulted in a reduction in pain and stiffness, alongside an improvement in overall knee function at six weeks and three months post-administration. Similar results have been observed in many other studies, from animal models up to case reports. The goal of PRP in patients with osteoarthritis is to reduce pain, improve joint function, and halt or even repair the damage done to the cartilage. The higher concentration of platelets found in PRP enables an increased secretion of growth factors at the arthritic site, regulating cell division, stimulating tissue regeneration, and promoting healing.
Several theories have been proposed that explain the promising impact of PRP on osteoarthritis:
1. PRP inhibits inflammatory markers, reducing inflammation and halting the progression of your osteoarthritis,
2. Stimulates the action of mesenchymal stem cells, resulting in the formation of new cartilage at the arthritic site,
3. Increase your body’s production of fluid at the joint site, reducing joint friction and the subsequent pain,
4. It contains proteins that alter your pain receptors response to sensation, reducing the pain experienced from arthritis.
Although there is no substantial evidence supporting the above theories, the promising improvements seen in osteoarthritis patients following PRP are widespread. If you are interested in finding out more about PRP, the conditions it can treat, and how Opus support you through your journey with us, get in touch today.