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Study Examines Achilles Tendinopathy Treatment

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Achilles tendinopathy, is a painful condition that is thought to be caused by overuse of the tendon. It is common among runners and is also seen in people with a certain shape of heel bone.

Symptoms can include pain at the back of your heel, as well as swelling, stiffness and weakness of the Achilles tendon. A variety of treatment options are available, starting with anti-inflammatories and special exercises. Physiotherapy can be helpful, and if the condition persists surgery is an option. Some clinics prescribe peritendinous autologous blood injections.

A new study has examined whether these injections improve pain and function in people with mid-substance Achilles tendinopathy.

Researchers recruited 53 adults with the condition and the participants were split into two groups.

Both groups carried out a standardised daily eccentric calf training programme and underwent two unguided peritendinous injections around the site of maximal Achilles tendon tenderness, one month apart. The treatment group had 3ml of blood injected and the control group had no substance injected.

The primary outcome measure was the change in symptoms and function from baseline to six months, with secondary outcomes including each participant´s perceived rehabilitation and their ability to return to sport.

Results showed that there were clear improvements at six months in both groups. The overall effect of treatment was not significant, however, and there was little difference between the two groups in terms of their perceived rehabilitation or ability to return to sport.

The researchers concluded that administration of two unguided peritendinous autologous blood injections, in addition to a standardised eccentric training programme, provides no additional benefit in the treatment of mid-substance Achilles tendinopathy.