Introduction: Sprains, strains, and tendinopathies are some of the most common injuries in athletics and each present their own challenges for sports medicine practitioners. A new form of nonoperative treatment called Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections have gained attention and consideration for treating soft tissue injuries. PRP is a preparation of autologous human plasmawith an increased platelet concentration. When injected, the PRP releases larger amounts than normally found in the body of growth factors and cytokines to the injury site. This is theorized to start the natural healing process. Purpose: To analyze the effects of platelet-rich plasma injections in athletes suffering from ligament, tendon, or musculoskeletal injuries through a systematic review of literature. Methods: A search of Pubmed, Cochran Central, Ebscohost, and Medline was conducted with the keywords “platelet-rich plasma injections” followed by “in athletes”. The inclusion criteria consisted of any article analyzing the use of PRP injections for treatment of a sprain, strain, or tendinosis in athletes. The methodology of each article found was critically appraised using the PEDro appraisal scale. The exclusion criteria were articles which used PRP injections for non-athletes, the experiment was conducted on animals, the study compared the injections to another form of treatment, and/or given a score below a five on the PEDro scale. Results: A total of 11 studies were included in the qualitative data synthesis based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Three different tissues were researched. Studies analyzing each different type of tissue found the use of platelet-rich plasma injections to be effective in accelerating the healing process which ultimately decreases the athletes time to return to play. However, some studies also did not find any difference in healing time and pain. Conclusion: The study analyzed new research on the overall effectiveness of platelet-rich plasma injections in the athletic population. The available evidence showed an overall positive outcome, but some precautions of accepting the research should be considered. More research should be conducted to solidify these results. Once the research has proven it to be a new form of effective treatment, then it can be utilized by sports medicine teams more frequently to aid in the healing time and decrease time to return to play.
Griffith, Kelly and Fitzhugh, David, "Effects of Platelet-rich Plasma Injections on the Healing of Different Tissues in Athletes: A Systematic Review" (2020). 2020 SACAD Entrants. 29.