Ultrasound-guided platelet-rich plasma injections may increase function, decrease pain and reduce recovery times in the Achilles and patellar tendons for athletes with degenerative tendon disease, according to researchers from Italy.
“Our study showed that in athletes who underwent [platelet-rich plasma] PRP treatments, there was an improvement of functionality, a decrease in pain and a normalization of the signal intensity seen on MRI,” Alice La Marra, MD, a radiology resident at the University of L’Aquila in L’Aquila, Italy, stated in a press release. “Therefore, our experience proves that PRP infiltration may be a good therapeutic alternative for the treatment of Achilles and patellar tendinopathy in athletes.”
Alice La Marra
La Marra and colleagues presented their findings at the Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting in Chicago. They followed 80 athletes with either degenerative tendinosis of the Achilles or patellar tendon who underwent three courses of PRP injections every 21 days, according to the abstract. After the PRP treatment, MRIs were taken at 30-day follow-up and 1-year follow-up and researchers measured pain outcomes through VAS scores and function scores through Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment-A (VISA-A) and VISA-P questionnaires for Achilles tendinosis and patellar tendinosis, respectively.
For athletes with Achilles tendinosis, VAS scores improved overall by 80% and VISA-A scores improved by 53%, according to the abstract. Athletes with patellar tendinosis had 75% improved VAS scores and 50% improved VISA-P scores. Further, the signal intensity observed on MRI was normalized in 90% of cases.
La Marra A. The effects of US-guided injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) on the degenerative disease of the Achilles and patellar tendon in athletes. Presented at: Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting; Dec. 1-6, 2013; Chicago.
Disclosure: The authors have no relevant financial disclosures.