The use of PRP injections in the management of knee osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative disease involving joint damage, an inadequate healing response and progressive deterioration of the joint architecture that commonly affects the knee and/or hip joints. It is a major world public health problem and is predicted to increase rapidly with an ageing population and escalating rate of obesity. Autologous blood-derived products possess much promise in the repair and regeneration of tissue and have important roles in inflammation, angiogenesis, cell migration and metabolism in pathological conditions, including OA. Utilising platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to treat tendon, ligament and skeletal muscle has shown variable results across many studies with the current evidence base for the efficacy of PRP in treating sports injuries remaining inconclusive. More uniformly positive results have been observed by various studies for PRP in OA knee in comparison to hyaluronic acid, other intra-articular injections and placebo than in other musculoskeletal tissue. However, methodological concerns as well as satisfactory PRP product classification prevent the true characterisation of this treatment. Thus, further research is required to investigate how leukocyte inclusion, activation and platelet concentration affect therapeutic efficacy. Furthermore, the optimisation of timing, dosage, volume, frequency and rehabilitation strategies need to be ascertained. For knee OA management, these concerns must be addressed before this promising treatment can be widely implemented.