Objective: Chronic tendinosis of the Achilles tendon is a common overuse injury that is difficult to manage. We report on a new injection treatment for this condition.
Subjects and methods: Thirty-six consecutive patients (25 men, 11 women; mean age, 52.6 years) with symptoms for more than 3 months (mean, 28.6 months) underwent sonography-guided intratendinous injection of 25% hyperosmolar dextrose every 6 weeks until symptoms resolved or no improvement was shown. At baseline and before each injection, clinical assessment was performed using a visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain at rest (VAS1), pain during normal daily activity (VAS2), and pain during or after sporting or other physical activity (VAS3). Sonographic parameters including tendon thickness, echogenicity, and neovascularity were also recorded. Posttreatment clinical follow-up was performed via telephone interview.
Results: Thirty-three tendons in 32 patients were successfully treated. The mean number of treatment sessions was 4.0 (range, 2-11). There was a mean percentage reduction for VAS1 of 88.2% (p < 0.0001), for VAS2 of 84.0% (p < 0.0001), and for VAS3 of 78.1% (p < 0.0001). The mean tendon thickness decreased from 11.7 to 11.1 mm (p < 0.007). The number of tendons with anechoic clefts or foci was reduced by 78%. Echogenicity improved in six tendons (18%) but was unchanged in 27 tendons (82%). Neovascularity was unchanged in 11 tendons (33%) but decreased in 18 tendons (55%); no neovascularity was present before or after treatment in the four remaining tendons. Follow-up telephone interviews of the 30 available patients a mean of 12 months after treatment revealed that 20 patients were still asymptomatic, nine patients had only mild symptoms, and one patient had moderate symptoms.
Conclusion: Intratendinous injections of hyperosmolar dextrose yielded a good clinical response--that is, a significant reduction in pain at rest and during tendon-loading activities--in patients with chronic tendinosis of the Achilles tendon.