Ankle sprains and subsequent pain are one of the most common orthopedic injuries, especially among athletes and dancers. Most ankle sprains are mild or moderate and eventually heal on their own, but ankle pain that doesn’t go away within three to six weeks of the initial injury could indicate a larger problem. It’s estimated that nearly 40% of people who sustain an ankle sprain will suffer from long-term ankle weakness and chronic pain due to improper healing.
The standard method of treatment for ankle sprains – RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation – has recently been called into question within the orthopedic community for its efficacy in allowing ligaments in the ankle joint to fully heal following injury. Some orthopedic specialists even argue that the traditional RICE approach may encourage recurrent sprains, especially in more active individuals, and lead to long-term functional and mechanical instability in the ankle joint.
The body sometimes needs assistance to properly heal soft tissue injuries like ankle sprains, which has caused many orthopedic specialists to turn to regenerative modalities like PRP Therapy as an alternative to ankle fusion, ankle joint surgery, and ankle joint replacement for chronic ankle pain. At ReGenMed, PRP Therapy is our standard modality for repair and relief from chronic ankle pain. Our chief physician, Dr. Manohar Jethani, is board-certified in emergency medicine, and specializes in regenerative medicine, specifically platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) therapy, to heal at the cellular level. Dr. Jethani has been expertly trained to treat symptoms of chronic ankle pain and expedite the healing of ankle injuries via PRP Therapy.
The ankle joint consists of three bones that are held together by tough, elastic band-like tissues known as ligaments. Ligaments give the ankle strength and stability and prevent excessive twisting and turning of the ankle joint. An ankle sprain is actually an injury that occurs when the ligaments of the ankle joint are torn or stretched beyond their normal elasticity.
When ligaments in the ankle stretch or tear, the ankle joint becomes unstable. Lax ligaments allow the ankle joint to move around too much, making the joint difficult to heal and more susceptible to reinjury if not given an adequate amount of time to heal. Inadequate healing and repeated damage to the ankle ligaments can lead to a cycle of chronic pain and permanent looseness and weakness of the ankle joint. In some instances, physical therapy can strengthen loose ankle ligaments and restore some degree of ankle stability, but in most cases, severely loose ligaments could only be fully tightened with surgery.
Regenerative therapies like PRP have shown incredible promise in healing and stabilizing lax and damaged ligaments in the ankle. A 2014 study found that PRP Therapy could not only prompt non-healing ankle wounds to heal, but patients and athletes in particular could resume their daily routines or sporting activities much faster with significantly less residual pain and ankle instability .
PRP consists of concentrated platelets suspended in a small amount of the patient’s plasma that stimulates healing when injected into damaged or injured tendons, ligaments, and joints. Platelets are powerful components of blood that play a vital role in the blood clotting process, but when concentrated, platelets release growth factors that actually reverse the degradation of damaged soft tissue and initiates an anabolic process that builds up new tissue around the damaged area.
PRP therapy is ideal for healing ankle sprains and tears as opposed to surgery because surgical reconstruction often leads to the formation of scar tissue that can actually make ankle ligaments prone to reinjury. Because PRP Therapy heals all damage in the injured area at the cellular level, the therapy can also heal ankle conditions like sinus tarsi syndrome or a tarsal coalition, both of which are often difficult to see and therefore diagnose with an X-Ray or MRI.
Benefits of Using PRP Therapy to Treat Ankle Pain
PRP Therapy can not only slow down further wear and tear of damaged ankle ligaments, but it can actually repair them and help patients avoid painful ankle surgeries and lengthy rehabilitation periods. Rather than providing quick, temporary relief from ankle pain, PRP injections support permanent healing of the affected area by reversing the breakdown process that occurs with overuse and injury.
The cells used to formulate the PRP concentrate are obtained from the patient’s own blood, so the risk of postprocedural complications is low. This noninvasive, non-surgical injection is administered at our facility, and most patients are encouraged to walk the same day or within a few days depending on the severity of their condition. Patients also notice significant improvements in their ankle pain, stability, and range of motion within a few weeks, and improvements will gradually continue as healing progresses.
If you suffer from chronic ankle pain and instability and you want to achieve significant pain relief without surgery, you may be an ideal candidate for our non-surgical PRP Therapy treatment. Call ReGenMed today to schedule a personalized consultation and discover how Dr. Jethani’s application of PRP may be able to restore pain-free function and range of motion to your ankles.