Glucocorticoid injections in lesions of the achilles tendon

David Metcalfe, Juul Achten, Matthew L Costa
Foot & Ankle International 2009, 30 (7): 661-5

BACKGROUND: A number of non-operative interventions are used to manage Achilles tendinopathy. In particular, local glucocorticoid injections have generated controversy. Although a number of case reports indicate symptomatic relief following glucocorticoid injection, one systematic review found little evidence to support their efficacy. Furthermore, local glucocorticoid injections may be associated with rupture of the Achilles tendon. This systematic review considered all available clinical trials measuring the effect of local glucocorticoid injections on symptom relief in patients with Achilles tendinopathy.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The search strategy encompassed five databases: Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED and the Cochrane Library. Only studies reporting the outcome of glucocorticoid injection for Achilles tendinopathy were included.

RESULTS: A total of 72 articles were identified, five of which met the inclusion criteria. These included one randomized controlled trial, three retrospective studies, and one prospective case series.

CONCLUSION: There is no consensus as to whether local glucocorticoid injections have a therapeutic role in the treatment of Achilles tendinopathy However, they may incur a risk of tendon damage and therefore further research is required before glucocorticoid injections can be recommended for use in Achilles tendinopathy.

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