Platelet-rich plasma injection reduces pain in patients with recalcitrant epicondylitis

Orthopedics. 2011 Jan 1;34(2):92. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20101221-05.


Thirty patients (31 elbows) with epicondylitis unresponsive to nonsurgical treatment (including steroid injection) for >6 months received a single treatment of platelet-rich plasma injected with a peppering technique. Patients were followed using a 5-subcategory visual analog scale (VAS) for pain (0, no pain; 10, worst possible pain), modified American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons assessment survey, and VAS for patient satisfaction (0, not at all satisfied; 10, very satisfied). Successful treatment was defined as a 25% decrease in worst pain at follow-up with no intervention after 1 year. Two patients (2 elbows) elected for surgery 1 month postinjection. Of the remaining 29 elbows followed, 28 had a 25% reduction in worst pain at ≥1 follow-up visits, for an overall success rate of 90% (28 of 31 elbows). Mean scores for worst pain at baseline, 3 months, and last follow-up (patients with at least 6 months of follow-up; 25±14 months) were 7.2±1.6 (n=30 elbows), 4.0±2.2 (n=23), and 1.1±1.7 (n=26), respectively (P<.01 or less comparing follow-up scores to baseline using each patient as his or her own control). Patient satisfaction scores improved from 5.1±2.5 at 1 month to 9.1±1.9 at last follow-up (P<.01). Only 1 patient reported no improvement after 6 months. Results suggest that a single platelet-rich plasma injection can improve pain and function scores, thus avoiding surgery.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arthralgia / etiology*
  • Arthralgia / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intra-Articular
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Platelet Transfusion / methods*
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma*
  • Radiography
  • Tennis Elbow / diagnostic imaging
  • Tennis Elbow / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome