Sclerosing injections to areas of neo-vascularisation reduce pain in chronic Achilles tendinopathy: a double-blind randomised controlled trial

  • Håkan Alfredson
  • Lars Öhberg
Sports Medicine


Local injections of the sclerosing substance Polidocanol has been demonstrated to give good clinical results in a pilot study on patients with chronic Achilles tendinopathy. In this study, 20 consecutive patients (9 men and 11 women, mean age 50 years) with chronic painful mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy were randomised to injection treatment with either Polidocanol (5 mg/ml) (group A) or Lidocaine hydro-chloride (5 mg/ml) + Adrenaline (5 μg/ml) (group B). Both substances have a local anaesthetic effect, but Polidocanol also has a sclerosing effect. The patients and the treating physician were blinded to the substance injected. The short-term effects were evaluated after a maximum of two treatments, 3–6 weeks apart. Before treatment, all patients had structural tendon changes and neo-vascularisation demonstrated with US and colour doppler. Under US and colour doppler-guidance, the injections targeted the area of neo-vascularisation just outside the ventral part of the tendon. For evaluation, the patients recorded the severity of Achilles tendon pain during tendon loading activity, before and after treatment, on a VAS. Patient’s satisfaction with treatment was also assessed. At follow-up (mean 3 months) after a maximum of two treatments, 5/10 patients in group A were satisfied with the treatment and had a significantly reduced level of tendon pain (p<0.005). In group B, no patient was satisfied with treatment. In the pain-free tendons, but not in the painful tendons, neo-vascularisation was absent after treatment. After completion of the study, treatment with Polidocanol injections (Cross-over in group B and additional treatments in group A) resulted in 10/10 and 9/10 satisfied patients in group A and B, respectively. In summary, injections with the sclerosing substance Polidocanol have the potential to reduce tendon pain during activity in patients with chronic painful mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy.


Tendon pain Sclerosing injections Randomised controlled trial 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Surgical and Perioperative Science Sports Medicine, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, National Institute for Working LifeUniversity of UmeaUmeåSweden
  2. 2.Department of Radiation Sciences, Diagnostic RadiologyUniversity of UmeaUmeåSweden

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