This was a prospective, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial – THAT INVOLVED INJECTIONS INTO AN ANKLE FOR AN ANKLE SPRAIN. The kind me and you do, oh, I dont know, at least 2-3 times a year. And manage to do just fine. But this was not just any injection, but platelet rich plasma. Which just does not sound cheap, and sounds like terrible indication creep if I’ve ever heard it.
After 37 patients were randomized to placebo or platelet rich plasma intra-articular injections, both groups had were evaluated for their visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores and Lower Extremity Functional Scale (LEFS) on days 0, 3, and 8. LEFS and a numeric pain score were obtained via phone call on day 30. All participants were splinted, given crutches, and instructed to not bear weight for 3 days; at which time patients were reevaluated.
This seems like a colossal waste of time, money, and resources. Perhaps they were really testing to see if they could find 37 patients silly enough to accept an intra-articular injection for a low risk injury, then have a splint placed (I wont get into my thoughts on placing a splint for injuries like this, instead I’ll refer you to here and here). Then again, if we continue to provide patients with other sham procedures despite evidence that demonstrates their are useless, then perhaps ED platelet rich injections are merely the next evolutionary step after back surgery and knee arthroscopies.