Background: Lateral elbow pain is common with a population prevalence of 1%-3%. The study was a comparative trial to validate the efficacy of single injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for tennis elbow as compared with single injections of triamcinolone and placebo (normal saline) over a short term period.
Materials and methods: Comparative trial with 3- and 6-month followup evaluated with visual analog scale (VAS) and facial pain scale (FPS). Our study included a total of eighty patients with unilateral or bilateral tennis elbows. The study population included patients between 20 and 40 years age group belonging to either sex with seventy unilateral and ten bilateral affections for more than 3-month duration. Patients suffering from elbow pain due to other problems or those who have received any form of injection were excluded from the study. One milliliter of 2% Xylocaine injection was given before injecting the proposed formulation under trial. VAS and FPS were used for scoring pain. Kruskal-Wallis test and Mann-Whitney U-tests were used for statistical analyses at 12 and 24 weeks.
Results: Overall, 49 females and 31 males were included with thirty elbows in each group. Both the PRP and triamcinolone groups had better pain relief at 3 and 6 months as compared to normal saline group (P < 0.05), but at 6 months followup, the PRP group had statistically significant better pain relief than triamcinolone group. In the triamcinolone group, 13 patients had injection site hypopigmentation and 3 patients had subdermal atrophy.
Conclusion: Over a short term period, PRP gives better pain relief than triamcinolone or normal saline in tennis elbow which needs to be validated over long term period by further studies.
Keywords: Lateral epicondylitis; Platelets; elbow; lignocaine; normal saline; platelet-rich plasma; saline solution; steroids; tendinosis; tennis elbow; triamcinolone.