A recent article using a randomized, prospective, double-blind comparison of Ultrasound-guided injection of Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) vs. Arthroscopic debridement for painful tennis elbow was reviewed (1). Both groups had significant pain relief and restoration of function at one year follow-up, but the PRP group had a return of pain by 2 years while the Elbow Arthroscopy group remained pain free and increased grip strength.
Since Physiotherapy and Corticosteroid injections provide no clear benefit (2), it appears PRP is a safe, well tolerated option for painful Tennis Elbow that is unresponsive to activity restriction, rest, or bracing. Less benefit was seen in the heavy laborers in the PRP group. Though the effects of PRP will dissipate after 1-2 years, for those patients wishing to delay or avoid surgery, it is proven to be effective for short-term pain and functional improvement of Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) symptoms.
- Merolla,G., et al: Arthroscopy Vol: 33, Issue 7, July 1, 2017. Arthroscopic Debridement Versus Platelet-rich Plasma Injection: A Prospective, Randomized, Comparative Study of Chronic Lateral Epicondylitis With a Nearly 2-year Follow-Up.
- Olausen, M, et.al: Corticosteroid or placebo injection combined with deep friction massage, Mills Manipulation, stretching and eccentric exercise for acute lateral epicondylitis: a randomized, controlled study. BMC Musculoskel Disorder 2015; 16: 122.