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Finger Arthritis and Platelet Rich Plasma Treatments

Orlando, Florida – Finger arthritis is one of the most common forms of osteoarthritis, and the prevalence is expected to increase as the population ages.1 Finger arthritis causes pain, loss of function, decreased ability to grip objects with the hand, and it reduces overall quality of life.1 Healthcare professionals can diagnose finger osteoarthritis through a detailed history and physical examination along with radiological studies, such as hand x-rays.

Finger osteoarthritis may be caused by a single major injury or repetitive use, i.e., small injuries that accumulate over time.2 For example, NBA player Kobe Bryant has severe osteoarthritis in his right index finger. He likely developed the condition from a combination of major injury and continued, repetitive use while playing basketball.

Finger Arthritis and Platelet Rich Plasma Treatments

The current goal of finger osteoarthritis treatment is to alleviate symptoms such as pain. Thus, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most commonly prescribed treatment. NSAIDs may be taken orally or applied topically. Likewise, topical capsaicin has also been used to treat finger osteoarthritis. While splints, the application of heat or ice, and even assistive devices have been tried, they result in little to no improvement.1Physical therapy exercises may decrease pain and increase strength and range of motion. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, there are no disease modifying drugs available for finger osteoarthritis.1 Occasionally, steroid injections may be used to treat finger osteoarthritis, but their benefits are limited.1 If nonsurgical treatments fail to provide adequate relief, surgery may be attempted.

An interesting new treatment for osteoarthritis of the finger is platelet rich plasma. “Platelet rich plasma therapy is a way of administering concentrated healing factors into the arthritic joint to facilitate healing, reduce pain, and improve outcomes,” reports Dr. Jason Pirozzolo, a sports medicine physician in Orlando, Florida and President of the American Regenerative Medicine Society. “Platelet rich plasma is not a drug in the normal sense. Instead, physicians retrieve a sample of blood from the patient and, using a centrifuge, isolate the layer that contains platelets and growth factors. The sample is then injected back into the patient’s own finger joint.”

Initial results with platelet rich plasma have been promising.3 Patients with arthritis of the thumb had less pain and increased strength and function after PRP.4

Finger arthritis is a potentially debilitating disorder of the joints. It can result from injury, repetitive use, or both. Conservative treatments such as splints, heat therapy, or steroid injections are only marginally helpful. “Surgery may be needed for severe and intractable finger arthritis, therefore patients with finger arthritis may want to consider platelet rich plasma therapy as a possible treatment option,” says Pirozzolo.

 

Authored by © The American Regenerative Medicine Society

Dr. Jason Pirozzolo is the Director of Sports Medicine and Trauma at Orlando Hand Surgery Associates and Orlando Regenerative Medicine Center. He specializes in non-surgical orthopedic treatments, regenerative medicine and platelet rich plasma injections. He is also the President of The American Regenerative Medicine Society and serves on the Board of Governors at the Florida Medical Association and as a delegate to the American Medical Association.

References

  1. Kloppenburg M. Hand osteoarthritis-nonpharmacological and pharmacological treatments. Nat Rev Rheumatol. Apr 2014;10(4):242-251. doi:10.1038/nrrheum.2013.214
  2. Verrouil E, Mazieres B. Etiologic factors in finger osteoarthritis. Rev Rhum Engl Ed. Jun 1995;62(6 Suppl 1):9s-13s.
  3. Steiner MM, Calandruccio JH. Biologic Approaches to Problems of the Hand and Wrist. Orthop Clin North Am. Jul 2017;48(3):343-349. doi:10.1016/j.ocl.2017.03.010
  4. Loibl M, Lang S, Dendl LM, et al. Leukocyte-Reduced Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment of Basal Thumb Arthritis: A Pilot Study. Biomed Res Int. 2016;2016:9262909. doi:10.1155/2016/9262909
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Patient Success Story | Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy for Hand Pain

When Marilyn hit her retirement, she set out to stay more active than ever before. She planned on filling her days with activities such as swimming, rowing, biking, pottery, and playing with her grandkids. She finally had the freedom to do all the activities she loves, but there was only one thing standing in here way: osteoarthritis. “I’ve dealt with arthritis in my feet and knees before, but it wasn’t until I had osteoarthritis in my hands that everything changed,” says Marilyn. “I need my hands to do so many things that I enjoy doing.”

Patient Success Story | Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy for Hand PainWhat is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis that causes the joints to degenerate. According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis affects approximately 27 million Americans. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but it most commonly occurs in the knees, hands, wrists, and shoulders.

The most common forms of treatment for osteoarthritis include activity modification, rehabilitation, steroid injections, and in severe cases, surgery. “For a decade, I received steroid injections in my hands to relieve pain, and while they worked for a while, I wanted a more long-term option that didn’t include surgery, so I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Jason Pirozzolo at Orlando Hand Surgery Associates,” says Marilyn.

“When I first met Marilyn she came to see me after having repeated steroid injections into her finger for severe arthritis; she was having problems bending her fingers, and she was having significant pain,” says Dr. Jason Pirozzolo. “Over time, steroid injections can lose their effectiveness however, and that’s why we offered her a different treatment option: platelet rich plasma, which is PRP.”

What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy?

A platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy procedure begins with drawing the patient’s blood. The blood is placed in a specialized tube and then spun in a centrifuge. The centrifuge separates the blood into three components: platelet rich plasma, platelet poor plasma, and red blood cells. The doctor only uses the platelet rich plasma component to inject in the area of injury or pain. Watch a video on what to expect during a platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy procedure here.Patient Success Story | Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy for Hand Pain

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy for Osteoarthritis

 “We believe platelet rich plasma works by stimulating cartilage matrix production. In addition, platelet rich plasma can help to modulate the inflammatory response. Doing both of those things in the setting of osteoarthritis may result in a reduction of pain and an improvement in function,” says Dr. Jason Pirozzolo.

What are the benefits of using platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy?

  • The procedure is minimally invasive.
  • There’s minimal risk involved as the procedure consists of only using your own blood.
  • Many patients can resume normal daily activities almost immediately after the procedure.
  • Quicker recovery and rehabilitation time when compared to surgery.

After her first platelet rich plasma injection, Marilyn noticed a significant improvement in her pain and function. She’s now back to making pottery for her friends and family and doing the activities she loves. Watch Marilyn share her story with platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy by watching the video above.

Dr. Jason Pirozzolo, Dr. George White, Dr. Brian White and Dr. Anup Patel perform platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy and stem cell therapy procedures at the Orlando Center for Regenerative Medicine, located in the same building as our Orlando Hand Surgery Associates downtown Orlando location. Learn more about the regenerative medicine procedures we offer here: http://orlandoregenerativemed.com/.

 

Request an appointment here 

 

 

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