Background: Achilles tendinopathy is a common disease among both athletes and in the general population in which the use of platelet-rich plasma has recently been increasing. Good evidence for the use of this autologous product in tendinopathy is limited, and data on longer-term results are lacking.
Purpose: To study the effects of a platelet-rich plasma injection in patients with chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy at 1-year follow-up.
Study design: Randomized controlled trial; Level of evidence, 1.
Methods: Fifty-four patients, aged 18 to 70 years, with chronic tendinopathy 2 to 7 cm proximal to the Achilles tendon insertion were randomized to receive either a blinded injection containing platelet-rich plasma or saline (placebo group) in addition to an eccentric training program. The main outcome was the validated Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment-Achilles score. Patient satisfaction was recorded and ultrasound examination performed at baseline and follow-up.
Results: The mean Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment-Achilles score improved in both the platelet-rich plasma group and the placebo group after 1 year. There was no significant difference in increase between both groups (adjusted between-group difference, 5.5; 95% confidence interval, -4.9 to 15.8, P = .292). In both groups, 59% of the patients were satisfied with the received treatment. Ultrasonographic tendon structure improved significantly in both groups but was not significantly different between groups (adjusted between-group difference, 1.2%; 95% confidence interval, -4.1 to 6.6, P = .647).
Conclusion: This randomized controlled trial showed no clinical and ultrasonographic superiority of platelet-rich plasma injection over a placebo injection in chronic Achilles tendinopathy at 1 year combined with an eccentric training program.