Platlet-rich plasma (PRP) injections have been touted as an effective treatment for a number of different types of soft tissue injuries. When it comes to Achilles tendon inflammation, the belief was that PRP injections would promote tendon repair by injecting a high concentration of growth factors directly into the site of inflammation and degeneration to hopefully help spur regeneration. But according to a new study, the injections may be less effective than originally hoped.
PRP Effectiveness For Achilles Tendon Inflammation
For the study, 240 patients were given either a PRP injection or a placebo injection to help treat their Achilles tendinopathy. Patients were then assessed using the Victorian Institute of Sport Assessment-Achilles score (VISA-A), which was measured six months after treatment. The assessment contained eight questions and covered three aspects of pain, function and activity to formulate a composite score of between 0-100, with 100 being the best possible outcome of no symptoms.
At the six month interval, the VISA-A score average for patients in the PRP group was 54.5. For those in the placebo group, the VISA-A average was 53.4. In other words, there was no significant difference between outcomes for the PRP group and the placebo group when it comes to Achilles tendonitis treatment.
“The recommendation from this trial is that PRP should not be used to treat Achilles tendinopathy,” said Rebecca Kearney, MD, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom. “It’s not effective, it costs money and we found some evidence that it can cause harm in the short term. There’s no evidence to continue using it for Achilles tendinopathy.”
The most common adverse events for the PRP group were injection site discomfort, swelling and bruising.
“These findings do not support the use of this treatment for chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy,” study authors concluded.
PRP injections are created by taking a sample of the patient’s own blood, spinning it rapidly so that it concentrates in a centrifuge before the blood is re-injected into the person’s body at the injury site. The expectation is that this concentrated blood helps to trigger tissue recovery in an expedited manner, but it doesn’t appear to be all that effective when administered for Achilles tendonitis. We’ve keep an eye on future studies to see if these results are confirmed.
If you or someone you know is dealing with Achilles tendonitis or another foot or ankle issue, let us help you get to the bottom of it and find a solution. For more information or to set up an appointment with Dr. Silverman, give his team a call today at (952) 224-8500.