Muscle and tendon pain can be a real drag, and often injections are recommended or considered after failed conservative treatment. Especially by that bloke in the office!
But does it work, and are they damaging?
There are lots of injection options for tendinopathy; corticosteroid, platelet-rich plasma, hyaluronic acid, prolotherapy, tenocyte implantation, stem cell… the list goes on.
There are promising studies with each of these, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer.
Currently, corticosteroids remain the most common ‘safe bet’ for pain relief and return to rehab. But they are short term strategies, with less effective long term results.
Although widely regarded as safe, animal trials of corticosteroids have showed that they can weaken tendons, however it is not conclusive in humans.
Platelet rich plasma (PRP), injects a concentrated mix of the bodies own cells to promote healing, and is gaining momentum. However the evidence is not yet certain as there are a wide variety of techniques and the procedure appears not to be completely perfected.
All other injections are considered more experimental when compared to corticosteroids and PRP.
So in conclusion, tell your office buddy that there is no clear winner! Having said that, expertly administered injections carry relatively few risks and do often help tendon rehabilitation. Therefore it is worth considering, especially when there is little response to therapy on its own.
Alex Horne Chiropractic… more than just a little prick.
Sources available on request