Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to treat sports injuries: evidence to support its use

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2011 Apr;19(4):516-27. doi: 10.1007/s00167-010-1306-y. Epub 2010 Nov 17.


Tissue repair in musculoskeletal lesions is often a slow and sometimes incomplete process. In sports patients or professional athletes, the impact of musculoskeletal lesions on life and work is great, and the fast recovery of full efficiency and return to competition is of primary importance. The clinical improvement offered by available treatments is not always sufficient for highly demanding patients to return to their previous level of activity. The search for a minimally invasive solution to improve the status of the chondral surface of the injured joint is therefore highly desirable, especially in these patients. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a procedure that allows to obtain a natural concentration of autologous growth factors. The attractive possibility to use the patients' own growth factors to enhance reparative process in tissues with low healing potential, the promising preliminary clinical findings and the safety of these methods, explain the wide application of this biological approach. The aim of this review is to analyse the existing published studies to look for scientific evidence in preclinical studies or in the results obtained through PRP application in humans that supports the efficacy of PRP and its use for the treatment of tendinous, ligamentous, cartilaginous and muscular injuries. The analysis of the literature shows promising preclinical results but contradictory clinical findings for the treatment of sport injuries. High-quality studies are required to confirm these preliminary results and provide scientific evidence to support its use.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy*
  • Blood Transfusion, Autologous
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / therapy
  • Pain Measurement
  • Platelet Transfusion / methods*
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing / physiology