Background Chronic painful tendon disorders are common and difficult to treat. Recently, research has focused on regenerative therapies based in the injections with autologous platelet growth factors (PGRF). Two randomised clinical trials involving patients with tendinopathy receiving autologous PGRF showed conflicting results. However, better outcomes were observed among individuals randomised to PGRF injections in the trial randomising patents with lateral epicondyle tendon lesion. The potential benefit of PGRF injections in patients without response to standard therapy is not established.
Objectives To evaluate the efficacy and safety of local injections with autologous PGRF to treat epicondylitis in patients refractory to standard therapy.
Methods Patients with epicondylitis who had received standard therapy including corticosteroid local injections and NSAIDS, with or without local ice or orthesis, were included in this prospective study. Patients being treated with physiotherapy were excluded. Patients were treated with one PGRF injection per month during three months. Symptoms, side effects of injections, visual analogic scale (VAS) were recorded in every visit. Fried man test was applied to compare VAS among visits.
Results 17 patients were included, 12 (57%) of whom were men. The median age was 52 (range: 42–61) years. 8 individuals have completed the scheduled therapy, 17 have reached 1 month. Median (RIQ) VAS were: at baseline 7 (6–9); at 1 month 6 (4–8); at 2 months 5 (3–9.5) (p < 0.001). An improvement in VAS was observed in 14 (82%) patients at 1 month, and 6 (75%) at 2 month. No significant side effects were observed.
Conclusions Local PGRF injections were efficacious to treat lateral epicondyle tendon lesions in patients without response to previous standard therapy. Local PGRF injections were well-tolerated.