A fairly new therapy for tendon complaints is GPS or platelet therapy. It is used for tendon inflammation, including heel spur, but also with, for example, achilles tendon inflammation and tennis elbow. GPS stands for Gravitational Platelet Separation, or separation of platelets by centrifuge. Other terms used for this treatment are PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) or ACP (Autologous Condintioned Plasma). In this treatment, a gel of the body's own platelets is used to effect healing. Platelets have a restorative effect, and by introducing them into high concentration in the affected tendon tissue, healing can be forced.
Normally, tendon tissue often heals slowly or not at all because the circulation is bad because of the dense tissue on the spot (one of the causes of chronic heel spurs). With GPS, this problem is circumvented by introducing the blood in a high concentration on site. This technique is also used regularly for heel spurs and plantaris fasciitis. The treatment will usually take place in a hospital or specialized orthopedic treatment clinic.
Application of GPS
The GPS therapy is usually performed in a day treatment. To begin with, a small amount of blood (30 - 60 cc) is taken from the patient himself, usually from the arm. After a centrifuge, the platelets are then separated from the blood plasma. The result is a gel with a high concentration of platelets. This gel is then injected into the heel, which can be quite painful. Normally, a tendon has poor circulation, and blood platelets are therefore difficult to perform their healing effect. The high concentration of platelets that are now injected on the spot can then hopefully address the inflammation.
Recovery after treatment
After treatment, pain may be treated with paracetamol, but painkillers such as Ibuprofen or Voltaren can not, since these can influence the positive effects of the platelets. Foot and heel load should be avoided in the first days after treatment. It is advisable to walk with crutches during this period, or even to use a wheelchair. To support the rehabilitation, simple stretching and strength exercises can be done after a few days. In contrast to injections with cortisone (which often gives relief for only a few months), the effect is usually permanent.