Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of multiple platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections on the healing of chronic refractory patellar tendinopathy, and report the quality and duration of the clinical improvement up to a medium-term follow-up.
Methods: Forty-three patients (mean age, 30.6 years; mean BMI, 24.7; 42 men, one woman) affected by chronic patellar proximal tendinopathy were enrolled in this trial. Eleven patients were affected by bilateral tendinopathy. They underwent three ultrasound guided intra-tendinous injections of five millilitres PRP, two weeks apart from each other. Patients were prospectively evaluated initially, then after two, six, and up to mean 48.6 ± 8.1 months of follow-up (minimum evaluation at 36 months). The following evaluation tools were used: Blanzina, VISA-P, EQ-VAS for general health, and Tegner scores. Patients' overall satisfaction and time to return to sport were also reported.
Results: Good and stable results were documented over time, with the VISA-P score increasing from 44.1 ± 15.6 at baseline to 61.4 ± 22.2 at two months, 76.6 ± 25.4 at six months, and 84.3 ± 21.6 at four years' follow-up. The same trend was confirmed by the other scores used, and 80 % of the patients were satisfied and returned to previous sports activities. Significantly poorer results were obtained in patients with a longer history of symptoms, and poor results were also observed in bilateral lesions. No correlation between ultrasonographic and clinical findings could be found.
Conclusions: Multiple injections of PRP provided a good clinical outcome for the treatment of chronic recalcitrant patellar tendinopathy with stable results up to medium-term follow-up. Patients affected by bilateral pathology and presenting a long history of pain obtained significantly poorer results.