TORONTO - A new study shows an increasingly popular treatment used by elite athletes to speed healing doesn't work better than a placebo when it comes to tendon injuries.
The injected treatment, called platelet-rich plasma or PRP, has been used by a range of athletes, including Olympic figure skating hopeful Patrick Chan.
But the scientific evidence supporting its usefulness has been preliminary.
Now the first known randomized controlled trial of the treatment found it didn't speed recovery in people who suffered from injuries of the Achilles tendon.
Dr. Doug Richards, team doctor for Canada's Olympic basketball team, says the finding is a disappointment and a bit of a surprise, given how enthusiastically supporters describe the effects of the therapy.
Richards, who wasn't involved in the study, says more research is needed to confirm the findings and to see whether PRP might be useful for other types of injuries, for instance regenerating torn muscles.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.