Department of Orthopedics, Tangshan Workers Hospital, Tangshan City. Department of Hand Surgery, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang. Department of Orthopedics, The Second Hospital of Tangshan, Tangshan City Hebei Province, PR China.
BACKGROUND Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is used as an alternative therapy to reduce pain and improve functional restoration in patients with Achilles tendinopathy (AT). We evaluated the current evidence for the efficacy of PRP as a treatment for chronic AT. METHODS The PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and The Cochrane Library databases were searched for articles on randomized controlled trials (RCTs)
that compared the efficacy of PRP with that of with placebo injections plus eccentric training as treatment for AT. The articles were uploaded over the establishment of the databases to May 01, 2018. The Cochrane risk of bias (ROB) tool was used to assess methodological quality. Outcome measurements included the Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment-Achilles (VISA-A), visual analog scale (VAS) and Achilles tendon thickness. Statistical analysis was performed with RevMan 5.3.5 software. RESULTS Five RCTs (n = 189) were included in this meta-analysis. Significant differences in the VISA-A were not observed between the PRP and placebo groups after 12 weeks [standardized mean difference (SMD) = 0.2, 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 0.36 to 0.76, I = 71%], 24 weeks (SMD = 0.77, 95% CI: -0.10-1.65, I = 85%) and 1 year (SMD = 0.83, 95% CI: -0.76-2.42, I = 72%) of treatment. However, PRP exhibited better efficacy than the placebo treatment after 6 weeks (SMD = 0.46, 95% CI: 0.15-0.77, I = 34%). Two studies included VAS scores and tendon thickness. VAS scores after 6 weeks (SMD = 1.35, 95% CI: -0.1.04-3.74, I = 93%) and 24 weeks (SMD = 1.48, 95% CI: -0.1.59-4.55, I = 95%) were not significantly different. However, VAS scores at the 12th week (SMD = 1.10, 95% CI: 0.53-1.68, I = 83%) and tendon thickness (SMD = 1.51, 95% CI: 0.39-2.63, I = 53%) were significantly different. CONCLUSION PRP injection around the Achilles tendon is an option for the treatment of chronic AT. Limited evidence supports the conclusion that PRP is not superior to placebo treatment. These results still require verification by a large number of well designed, heterogeneous RCT studies.