We investigated neovascularisation, tendon thickness and clinical function in chronic resistant Achilles tendinopathy following high volume image guided injections (HVIGI). The subjects involved 11 athletes (mean age 43.5 years+/-11.6, range 22-59) with resistant tendinopathy of the main body of the Achilles tendon for a mean of 51.4 months (+/-55.56, range 4-144) who failed to improve with an eccentric loading program (mean 11.8 months+/-2.6, range 8-16). The morphological features, neovascularisation and maximal tendon thickness were assessed with power Doppler ultrasound. Clinical function was measured with the Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment-Achilles tendon (VISA-A) questionnaire. All the tendinopathic Achilles tendons were injected with 10 mL of 0.5% bupivacaine hydrochloride, 25 mg of hydrocortisone acetate, and 40 mL of 0.9% NaCl saline solution under real time ultrasound guidance. All outcome measures were recorded at baseline and after a short-term follow-up (mean 2.9 weeks, range 2-4). The results showed a statistically significant difference between baseline and 3-week follow-up in all the outcome measures after HVIGI. The grade of neovascularisation reduced (3-1.1, p=0.003), the maximal tendon diameter decreased (8.7-7.6 mm, p<0.001), and the VISA-A scores improved (46.3-84.1, p<0.001). In conclusion, HVIGI for resistant tendinopathy of the main body of the Achilles tendon is effective to improve symptoms, reduce neovascularisation, and decrease maximal tendon thickness at short-term follow-up.
2009 Sports Medicine Australia. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.