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Review
, 43 (3), 253-61

Efficacy of Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections in Pain Associated With Chronic Tendinopathy: A Systematic Review

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Review

Efficacy of Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections in Pain Associated With Chronic Tendinopathy: A Systematic Review

Umatheepan Balasubramaniam et al. Phys Sportsmed.

Abstract

Background: Chronic tendinopathy has often been a management dilemma for general practitioners. With our understanding of the pathophysiology of tendinopathy evolving, so has our management, with the advent of newer strategies such as topical glycerol trinitrate, extracorporeal shock-wave therapy, as well as platelet-rich plasma (PRP).

Aim: To systematically review the literature regarding PRP therapy in chronic tendinopathy.

Design and setting: The databases used in our search include the Elton B. Stephens Co. (EBSCO) database, Medline, the Cochrane library, Ovid, and Embase (the Excerpta Medica database). A total of 389 articles were reviewed from Feb 2010 to April 2014, for possible inclusion. Of these articles, a total of 9 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) met our inclusion criteria. Only 1 RCT was excluded due to previous surgery in both the trial and control groups.

Methods: Each article was reviewed independently by 2 authors. Each article was analyzed using the Cochrane Criteria checklist. Where any discrepancy occurred in results, a third independent reviewer was consulted.

Results: Our review found that PRP was most effective in patellar and lateral epicondylar tendinopathy, with both RCTs in the patellar section of our study supporting the use of PRP in pain reduction at 3 and 12 months, whereas 2 of 4 studies in the lateral epicondylar section showed improvements in pain and disability at 6 and 12 months. There was a lack of evidence to support the use of PRP in Achilles and rotator cuff tendinopathy.

Conclusions: Although the results of this review show promise for the use of PRP in chronic tendinopathy, the analysis highlighted the need for more controlled clinical trials comparing PRP with placebo.

Keywords: Chronic tendinopathy; pain; platelet-rich plasma.

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