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Platelet-rich plasma: evidence for the treatment of patellar and Achilles tendinopathy—a systematic review

Abstract

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been introduced in the clinical practice to treat a growing number of different musculoskeletal pathologies. It is currently applied in the treatment of Achilles and patellar tendinopathies, which are common sport-related injuries very challenging to manage. Aim of the present paper was to review systematically the available clinical evidence concerning the application of PRP in the treatment of patellar and Achilles tendinopathy. A systematic review of the literature was performed according to the following inclusion criteria for relevant articles: (1) clinical reports of any level of evidence, (2) written in the English language, (3) with no time limitation and (4) on the use of PRP to treat conservatively Achilles and patellar tendinopathy. Twenty-two studies were included and analyzed. Two studies on patellar tendinopathy were randomized controlled trials (RCTs), whereas just one RCT was published on Achilles tendon. All the papers concerning patellar tendon reported positive outcome for PRP, which proved to be superior to other traditional approaches such as shock-wave therapy and dry needling. In the case of Achilles tendon, despite the encouraging findings reported by case series, the only RCT available showed no significant clinical difference between PRP and saline solution. The main finding of this study was the paucity of high-level literature regarding the application of PRP in the management of patellar and Achilles tendinopathy. However, the clinical data currently available, although not univocal, suggest considering PRP as a therapeutic option for recalcitrant patellar and Achilles tendinopathies.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Elettra Pignotti and Keith Smith for their contribution in preparing the present manuscript.

Conflict of interest

All the authors declare no conflict of interest with respect to the content of the present manuscript.

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Correspondence to B. Di Matteo.

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Di Matteo, B., Filardo, G., Kon, E. et al. Platelet-rich plasma: evidence for the treatment of patellar and Achilles tendinopathy—a systematic review. Musculoskelet Surg 99, 1–9 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12306-014-0340-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12306-014-0340-1

Keywords

  • PRP
  • Tendinopathy
  • Achilles
  • Patellar
  • Systematic review