Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Platelet Rich Plasma Helps for "High" Ankle Sprains

"High" ankle sprains are significant injuries that typically result in prolonged recovery and time away from sports.  This type of injury involves the strong ligaments that connect two of the major bones of the ankle.  They are also known as syndesmotic injuries.

A recent randomized, controlled trial found that athletes that were treated with ultrasonic guided injections returned to play faster and has less pain than a control group.  Return to play was almost 20 days faster for the PRP group.  (40.8 days vs 59.6 days, p = 0.006)  (See abstract below)

This data supports the use of PRP for athletes with this type of injury.  Further studies will help confirm this value.


 2014 Jun 18. [Epub ahead of print]

Plasma rich in growth factors (PRGF) as a treatment for high ankle sprain in elite athletes: a randomized control trial.



Syndesmotic sprains are uncommon injuries that require prolonged recovery. The influence of ultrasound-guided injections of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) into the injured antero-inferior tibio-fibular ligaments (AITFL) in athletes on return to play (RTP) and dynamic stability was studied.


Sixteen elite athletes with AITFL tears were randomized to a treatment group receiving injections of PRP or to a control group. All patients followed an identical rehabilitation protocol and RTP criteria. Patients were prospectively evaluated for clinical ability to return to full activity and residual pain. Dynamic ultrasound examinations were performed at initial examination and at 6 weeks post-injury to demonstrate re-stabilization of the syndesmosis joint and correlation with subjective outcome.


All patients presented with a tear to the AITFL with dynamic syndesmosis instability in dorsiflexion-external rotation, and larger neutral tibia-fibula distance on ultrasound. Early diagnosis and treatment lead to shorter RTP, with 40.8 (±8.9) and 59.6 (±12.0) days for the PRP and control groups, respectively (p = 0.006). Significantly less residual pain upon return to activity was found in the PRP group; five patients (62.5 %) in the control group returned to play with minor discomfort versus one patient in the treatment group (12.5 %). One patient in the control group had continuous pain and disability and subsequently underwent syndesmosis reconstruction.


Athletes suffering from high ankle sprains benefit from ultrasound-guided PRP injections with a shorter RTP, re-stabilization of the syndesmosis joint and less long-term residual pain. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Biologic Orthopedic Update from Las Vegas

The TOBI biologic orthopedic meeting this past weekend in Las Vegas was simply outstanding.  Dr. Steve Sampson put together an excellent collection of lectures and then followed by an impressive ultrasound anatomy session by Dr. Jay Smith from the Mayo Clinic.   Hands on injections and bone marrow aspiration in a cadaver lab completed the stellar conference held at the Red Rock Resort.

Las Vegas Red Rock Area

Some highlights of the sessions.  We heard about the use of PRP in soccer players from Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad from London, England, the use of PRP for osteoarthritis from Dr. Brian Cole from Chicago, the use of adipose-derived stem cells for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis from Dr. Yun Choi from South Korea, minimally invasive techniques for articular cartilage damage from Dr. Neil Ghodadra from Los Angeles and the Andrews Institute Experience using Biologics to Accelerate Healing from Dr. Adam Anz.   Lectures about hydrodissection using ultrasound (Dr. Lam, Hong Kong), the current landscape of disc regeneration challenges and promises (Dr. Bae, Los Angeles) and the value of mesenchymal stem cells (Dr. Caplan, Cleveland) were also given.  That was just part of day one of the conference.  Day two included several more interesting and important lectures.  I think there were over 300 attendees and many more following the streaming video (including myself on day one).  In between the lectures, discussions were carried out in the hallways and exhibit area.  Overall, it was a fantastic international event.

The field of biologic orthopedics is exploding.  Worldwide interest in minimally invasive techniques to treat challenging musculoskeletal problems is rising rapidly.  It will still take time, effort and some luck to discover and develop clinically meaningful treatments.  The good news is, progress is definitely being made toward these lofty goals.


Friday, June 06, 2014

Biologic Orthopedic Conference in Las Vegas (TOBI)

Today in Las Vegas a group of elite clinicians and researchers from around the world have gathered in Las Vegas for the 5th annual TOBI biologic orthopedic conference.  Discussions about platelet rich plasma, stem cells and a variety of other approaches for difficult problems such as arthritis, tendonitis and degenerative disc disease of the back.

Specific data has been presented suggesting various formulations of PRP and stem cells have value in the treatment of knee arthritis.  Clinical trials ongoing.

I'll be speaking at the conference on Saturday morning and will continue to report breaking news from the conference over the next two days.  Follow me on Twitter for real time updates (@BloodCure)

Dr. Steve Sampson has done a great job organizing the event.  Congrats!

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