November 10, 2009

PRP Experience

Today was my PRP injection and while it wasn't awful, I've certainly had better experiences. I was insanely nervous even though needles don't particularly bother me. I think it's more about the foot being the unfortunate location of the injection than the injection itself. The cortisone shot pre-Ironman really freaked me out so this was exponentially worse.

The procedure was really simple. I had blood drawn, I believe around 10cc, or the equivalent of two teaspoons. That part was fine except the veins in my left arm proved to be elusive so I had the pleasure of being poked on both sides. The blood was then put into the centrifuge for about 15 minutes, during which time I had three shots of local anesthetic in my foot to ease the surface pain of the larger gauge needle used for the injection. These shots surprisingly hurt a lot. The first was back toward my achilles, in a nerve that runs along the length of the foot, the second near the site of the tear and the third an inch or so down in my arch. My podiatrist had me sip an orange juice while I waited for my platelets to be procured and my foot to get tingly. I think he was afraid I'd faint from the blood being drawn or being terrified of the injection. Apparently some patients don't handle it well.

After what felt like forever, the technician came in with a syringe full of a pale pink liquid. It resembled rosè wine but something told me it wouldn't be as pleasant. I started to sweat profusely. I was a little embarrassed I was being such a baby about it. I'm supposed to be tough after all. As the doctor put the needle on the syringe and headed toward my foot I positioned myself so my bent right knee blocked the view. I could not watch. He gave me a quick warning and in the needle went. The initial poke was minimally painful to my surprise and relief. But then he started to slowly inject the PRP, about 4.5cc which is a decent amount, and the pain gradually crept up. He told me I'd feel some "fullness." That was a rather unsettling sensation. There were two areas in the fascia he was aiming to cover with the platelets - the site of the tear in my arch and an area just beneath my heel. I survived the arch and was holding up well, but when he moved the needle to the heel I nearly died. I could tell I was turning a shade of crimson and I felt a wave of heat pass over me. My stomach tightened up. It was an intense shot of pain that at first felt like it might pass once the injection was done, but it instead continued to intensify long after the needle was out. My doctor rubbed the injection site for a minute, bandaged me up and then stayed in the room with me while I composed myself. I was afraid to stand up, afraid to put weight on it. I could barely walk and the limp was way worse than when I was initially injured. But at least it's only temporary.

I'm back in the boot and back on crutches until the swelling and pain subside. I'm really glad I did this despite the discomfort. I need to feel I've done everything possible to get better and this was the final step.


  1. Sorry, girlie, I had to skim this because needles (sight, thought of) makes me queazy and faint. I hope you continue to heal !

  2. Wow! What an experience! Hope this works and that you heal up SOON!

  3. That didn't sound at all pleasant. At least the worst of it is over and the healing can begin!

  4. Wow - I couldn't remember what PRP was, but now that you explained it, I have heard of it. I hope it works for you. You'll have to keep us all posted.

  5. About as much fun as a sharp stick in the eye. Made me queasy just reading about it. Heal soon.



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