Percutaneous Bioelectric Current Stimulation in the Treatment of Chronic Achilles Tendinopathy: Protocol for a Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Randomized Multicenter Trial

JMIR Res Protoc. 2022 Nov 11;11(11):e40894. doi: 10.2196/40894.


Background: The consensus for the optimal treatment strategy for chronic Achilles tendinopathy (AT) is still debated and treatment options are limited. This results in a significant medical need for more effective treatment options.

Objective: The aim of this study is to investigate the therapeutic effects of percutaneous bioelectric current stimulation (PBCS) on AT.

Methods: A multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial will be conducted. A total of 72 participants with chronic (ie, >3 months) midpoint AT will be randomized and receive four PBCS sessions-either verum or placebo-over 3 weeks. Both groups will complete daily Achilles tendon loading exercises in addition to the intervention. Evaluation sessions will be completed at baseline and during the intervention (weeks 0-3). Self-reported outcome measures will be completed at follow-up at weeks 4, 12, 26, and 52. The primary outcomes are the Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment-Achilles questionnaire scores and statistical evaluation of intraindividual differences between baseline and 12-week evaluations after initial treatment of verum therapy compared to control. Secondary outcomes will assess Pain Disability Index scores; average pain, using the 11-point Numeric Rating Scale; return to sports; and use of emergency medication.

Results: The study began in May 2021. As of October 2022, we randomized 66 out of 72 participants. We anticipate completing recruitment by the end of 2022 and completing primary data analysis by March 2023.

Conclusions: The study will evaluate the effects of PBCS on pain, physical function, and clinical outcomes.

Trial registration: German Clinical Trials Register DRKS00017293;

International registered report identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/40894.

Keywords: Achilles tendinopathy; PBCS; conservative treatment; pain.