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When to Consider PRP Therapy for a Meniscus Injury

When to Consider PRP Therapy for a Meniscus Injury

If you’ve injured your meniscus, the rubbery disc that cushions your knee, you aren’t alone. Meniscal injuries are the most common type of knee injury for both athletes and non-athletes.

At OasisMD Lifestyle Healthcare with offices in San Diego, Encinitas, and Temecula, California, board-certified surgeons David Chao, MD, and Matthew Gargulinski, DO, diagnose and treat many types of meniscal injuries — including tears.

To help heal their knee injuries, some patients benefit from minimally invasive platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. Our providers may use PRP therapy as a standalone treatment, or it can be used successfully to complement other therapies, such as surgical meniscus repair

Keep reading to learn whether you should consider PRP therapy for your meniscus injury.

Understanding meniscus injuries

Your knee is one of the strongest joints in your body. Every day, it withstands stress as you walk, twist, run, jump,and move. Four ligaments help keep your knee stable, and any excessive force or rotation can cause one or more of these ligaments to tear. 

The same excessive motions can also injure your meniscus, the cushion of cartilage that helps absorb shock in the joint. Though anyone who twists their knee too far or with too much force can injure their meniscus, meniscal tears are among one of the most common sports injuries. 

Unfortunately, meniscal injuries are typically difficult to heal. This is because only about one-third of the meniscus receives blood, earning it the nickname “the red zone.” The rest of the meniscus, or “the white zone,” lacks good blood supply, making them a challenge to heal. 

If you suspect you’ve injured your meniscus, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. Most of these injuries don’t heal without medical intervention, and when left untreated, they can lead to complications that may make movement difficult down the line. 

Treating meniscus injuries

The right treatment for your meniscus injury depends on the nature of the injury and the location in the meniscus. At OasisMD Lifestyle Healthcare, our providers carefully examine your joint and order any necessary imaging studies, such as an MRI, to accurately diagnose your condition. 

Your meniscus treatment plan is customized to meet your needs. We generally begin with more conservative methods to heal meniscus injuries, which may include:

If your symptoms persist, our providers may recommend additional treatments, including surgical meniscus repair, meniscus transplants, and/or PRP therapy. Because of the issues with blood flow described above, surgical repair for meniscus injuries is common.

How PRP therapy helps meniscus injuries

PRP therapy can be an effective treatment or complementary therapy for treating meniscus injuries. Because much of this cartilage doesn’t have adequate blood flow, PRP injections infuse the area with healing platelets to encourage repair. Here’s how it works:

During PRP therapy, your OasisMD Lifestyle Healthcare provider extracts a small sample of your blood. The blood is then placed in a special machine, called a centrifuge, where it spins, causing the platelets to separate from the other elements in your blood. 

This creates a super-concentrated solution with 5-10 times more nutrients and special growth factors than your blood normally contains. This helps speed your body’s natural healing and reduces pain and inflammation. 

Your OasisMD Lifestyle Healthcare provider may use PRP therapy as a standalone treatment for less severe meniscus injuries, or they may recommend using PRP therapy with surgical repair. 

PRP therapy for meniscus injuries is most effective when administered in the early stages of your injury. Not only does it help promote healing, but it can also reduce your risk of developing osteoarthritis or joint degeneration down the line. 

For help with a meniscus injury or to learn more about minimally invasive PRP therapy, schedule an appointment at OasisMD Lifestyle Healthcare in San Diego, Temecula, or Encinitas, California. 

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