Tales of a Platelet Injection

So, the saga of the busted knee continues….at the time of this update, I was hoping that once I had crossed prolotherapy and ozone off my bucket list, my knee would be fixed.  Unfortunately, after an additional round of both prolo and ozone, the knee still wasn’t where I wanted it to be.  I didn’t have too many problems hiking…or running (after I decided to see what would happen if I just went out and did it).

I spent some more time in PT and the doctor continued to check it with the ultrasound.  The good news, the strain went away for the most part, other than in the quad.  The bad news, there was still a dark spot on the meniscus, which could be a tear after all.  Awesome.  Maybe that run wasn’t the best idea.  So, I tried some more PT…and continued to hike without issue….unless I stepped sideways (think trying to catch a door and hold it open with your foot or kicking a soccer ball).  And for some reason, the doctor was always able to mimic that….haha.

Anyway, after two rounds of prolo, I was left with two options – surgery or Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections.  Since I was nowhere near ready to let someone operate on it (I’d have to pretty much be unable to walk before that happens), I opted for the PRP injections.  Since there was still some strain in my quad and a couple of other places, my doctor also recommended some additional prolo injections at the same time.

I scheduled the procedure for later that week – a day after my in person interview, two days before I had to get on a place to New York, and in plenty of time to heal before working the next trail race.  Due to the timing (injections two days away), I had to start preparing right away.  Drink lots of water (two nalgene bottles on the day of)….no alcohol for two days before or five days after.  No OTC pain relievers (NSAIDS).  Ok, I can do that……I may or may not have snuck a cup of spiked tea in there somewhere…..

I was told (and read) that I would be more sore after these injections and I wouldn’t be able drive after these injections (not that I tried to drive after the last ones either).  Due to that, I took the bus over to the office.  Shorts on Muni….ewww….should have planned that one better.

While the prolo injections were a sugar water-type substance, PRP is an injection of your own platelets into the joint, so I had to come in an hour early for the blood draw.  The blood is then spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from the plasma and red blood cells.  The drawing was done with a giant syringe, which was a creepy thought, especially when I saw the syringe.  However, it was quite painless in reality.  I didn’t watch, just read and re-read the diploma on the wall.  haha.  The nurses asked if I needed anything or wanted water once it was done.  I had some with me, so drank the rest of that and munched on some cookies while I waited for the platelets to be spun out.      

Similar to the prolo injections, the procedure was pretty easy and painless for the twelvish injections. He started with the prolo (after the anesthetic) and then moved on to the platelets.  It felt a lot like the first two rounds….pressure and fullness.  He had the ultrasound facing me, so I could watch the stuff going in, but after seeing that once decided it was weird and just looked at the ceiling.  He had to tap the bone(s) to get the platelets to activate….weird….and ouch.  At some point, the platelets clotted, so he had to stop, fix the shot, and then carry on.  That was weird…and then something (meniscus maybe) did some weird vibrating thing – apparently that was supposed to happen.

Knee was once again full and all sorts of swollen.  Not nearly as numb as the first two times, unfortunately.  This one started to ache almost immediately.  However, I was able to hobble out, pay my bill, and call an Uber.  I think my Uber ride may have been a more harrowing experience than the injections.  Driver spent the entire ride talking about how careful he needed to be….never mind the red light he ran.  He was also really pre-occupied with picking up someone else, even though they had canceled the request.  Luckily, we arrived at Walgreens without issue.

I filled my prescription….hooray for the good drugs.  haha.  And had a friend pick me up, since I decided walking the quarter mile home would be a bad idea.  By the time I got home, it had already started to bruise, along with swell.  Ouch, and gross, but that meant it was working, right?  It also made a far more disgusting liquidy, squishing, sound when it was bent.

The next morning (and subsequent couple of days) it was far more sore than it had been with the past injections, I was pretty much hobbling…as long as it didn’t bend, it was ok.  Which was fine, as long as I wasn’t trying to walk.  So, I kept that to a minimum, and spent most of the day resting….and took a doctor’s ordered nap.  Flying wasn’t too bad, I wore running pants and took the meds and got more rest.  As the days wore on, the swelling went down and the bruising is just about gone now.  Here’s to hoping it worked and I’ll be back to running ASAP.    

Over and out, until next time….

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