So you’re about to start your PRP Therapy procedure and thinking about what’s next. Or perhaps you’re doing your research on Regenerative Medicine and wondering what the recovery timeline looks like for you to get back to doing your favorite exercise(s) and hobbies. Regardless, we’re excited for your journey in seeking the regenerative orthopedic care you need to restore your life and return to what you love most.
Before you begin your PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) treatment, it’s important that you understand your timeline for exercise as you recover from your PRP injections. After treatment, you really need to follow the post-op protocols provided by your doctor. That’s why we’re here to spell out for you when you can resume physical activities at each stage in your recovery journey, so you can make sure you heal effectively. Depending on the area of the body that’s received PRP therapy, your specific timeline may vary, based on your doctor’s guidance.
Your Physical Therapist – A Key Partner in Your Recovery and Exercise
As we begin, here’s an important note: after your PRP Therapy procedure, your doctor may recommend that you partner with a physical therapist to aid in your recovery (once your doctor says you’re ready to begin physical therapy). It’s crucial that you work with a physical therapist who understands the proper post-op protocols for PRP injections, as certain therapy exercises can be less helpful for cellular therapy patients.
Ultimately, staying in communication with your doctor during this process is key. Before you begin therapy, ask your doctor for specific recommendations on physical therapists who can help with your recovery.
Now, let’s get started on your post-procedure exercise timeline.
Post-Procedure Exercise Timeline
You’ve just had your procedure, so you should focus on taking it easy and getting some much-needed rest. You don’t need to stay sedentary, but only restrict yourself to everyday tasks around the house, especially in the first 48 hours.
There should be no exercising in the area of the body that’s received the PRP injections. At this time, there is a risk of infection at the incision point of the body (where the injections were made), so be sure to monitor your healing during this time and talk to your doctor if the area appears to be infected.
However, you can begin exercising the unaffected areas of the body 3-5 days after your procedure. For example, if you’ve had injections in your shoulder but want to exercise your legs, you can begin to do so as long as the exercises don’t affect the shoulder or increase your pain.
In this early stage, you could see significant inflammation in the area that’s received the PRP injections. This is a normal side effect in the healing process, as your platelets are concentrating to release healing proteins to help this area recover more quickly. However, you don’t want to use any anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) until six weeks after your treatment preferably. These drugs include:
- Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Aleve, Naproxen (topical or oral)
- Prescribed anti-inflammatory medications
- Natural “anti-inflammatory” supplements like Turmeric or Arnica
If you’re experiencing pain, kinesiology tape or ice may be helpful. Talk to your doctor about what you can use to aid in managing pain during this time.
As you’re getting out of the initial post-procedure days, you can begin to take on more physical activity. First, you can start with some light and gentle walking for exercise. However, no running or weight-bearing exercises should take place at this time. It’s also important to limit the number of times you use stairs, especially if you’ve had hip and knee PRP injections.
Once your injection site on your body has healed, you can begin swimming exercises. Walking in the pool is a great place to start. Using a kickboard or noodle as you swim will also help provide additional support.
Over these next several weeks, you need to focus on exercises that have minimal compressive loading or pounding on your joints. You can continue to walk for exercise, as well as walk in the pool or swim, but avoid hiking on inclines or uneven terrain. You can also start exercising on a stationary bike. However, continue to avoid repetitive load exercises like running or weight lifting.
As you begin to exercise more, don’t overdo it. This should be your philosophy throughout your recovery process. The last thing you want to do is cause an injury. We recommend exercising at half capacity during this stage. If exercising ever hurts, then stop. Gentle exercises like stretching, yoga, tai chi, and pilates are also great to pursue.
During this time, you can begin to introduce aerobic exercises with light resistance. These exercises should be limited to either the elliptical or rowing machine. The increased blood flow of these exercises helps, but you should continue to pay attention to the area of your body that received PRP Therapy and stop exercising if you experience pain.
To help with inflammation and pain, ice is still a great remedy at this stage.
Week 8 and Beyond
At this point, you can begin to reintroduce your normal workout or hobbies into your life, such as running or skiing, if the activities you’ve done in the previous weeks have generated little to no pain. Before you hit the slopes or trail, however, you must have your doctor’s and physical therapist’s approval. You’ve come this far, so the last thing you need is a setback.
As you can see, after two months, you can resume the lifestyle you love. And this time around, you’ll be able to enjoy your life with effective healing that lasts!
Want to learn more about PRP Therapy?
If you’re struggling with chronic pain, then PRP Therapy could be just what you need to pursue your life without limits again. At the Albano Clinic, Dr. Joseph Albano has been providing PRP Therapy and other cutting-edge treatments in regenerative medicine to patients in Utah and beyond since 2007, minimizing recovery time while maximizing lasting results.