Autologous platelet-rich plasma versus dextrose prolotherapy for the treatment of chronic recalcitrant plantar fasciitis

PM R. 2014 Feb;6(2):152-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2013.07.003. Epub 2013 Jul 19.


Objective: To determine the efficacy of autologous platelet-rich plasma (PRP) compared with dextrose prolotherapy (DP) in patients with chronic recalcitrant plantar fasciitis (PF) DESIGN: A single-blinded, randomized, controlled study.

Setting: Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of a university hospital.

Participants: Twenty-one patients with a clinical diagnosis of chronic PF confirmed by diagnostic ultrasound (plantar fascia thickness >4 mm) were randomly assigned to the PRP group (n = 10) or the DP group (n = 11).

Interventions: Each patient received 2 injections into the plantar fascia through a peppering technique under ultrasound guidance at an interval of 2 weeks, either with 2 mL of autologous PRP or 2 mL of 15% dextrose/lidocaine solution.

Main outcome measurements: The outcome measures included the pain, disability, and activity limitation subscales, measured by means of the Foot Functional Index. Data were collected before the first injection, at 2 weeks (before the second injection), and at the 2- and 6-month follow-ups.

Results: All patients completed the follow-ups, with the exception of 1 patient in the PRP group. The mean Foot Functional Index total and subcategory score improvements were greater in the PRP group compared with the DP group (improvement with PRP vs DP, total: 30.4% vs 15.1%, pain: 29.7% vs 17.1%, disability: 26.6% vs 14.5%, activity limitation: 28.0% vs 12.4%). However, no statistically significant difference was noted at any follow-up. In the pain and disability subcategories, both groups showed significant improvements at the last re-evaluation. The PRP group also showed significant improvements in the disability and activity limitation subscales at the second re-evaluation.

Conclusions: Each treatment seems to be effective for chronic recalcitrant PF, expanding the treatment options for patients in whom conservative care has failed. PRP treatment also may lead to a better initial improvement in function compared with DP treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anesthetics, Local / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / diagnostic imaging
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Glucose / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Lidocaine / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobility Limitation
  • Pain Measurement
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Lidocaine
  • Glucose