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Percutaneous Electrochemical Debridement of the Plantaris Tendon

A Novel Option in the Treatment of Midportion Achilles Tendinopathy

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  • 1 Medical Services, Udinese Football Club, Udine, Italy.
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Plantaris tendon disorders are a well-known source of midportion Achilles tendinopathy. Plantaris tendon thickening and fibrous tissue formation between the tendons are the histologic abnormalities that are typically observed. Surgical approaches (scraping of the Achilles medial and ventral paratendinous tissues and excision of the plantaris tendon) have already shown good clinical outcomes; despite this, the cost-benefit ratio of these interventions may be unfavorable, and their accessibility is limited. Percutaneous needle electrolysis is a minimally invasive ablative technique increasingly being considered for the treatment of tendinopathies and associated conditions. Herein we introduce a novel procedure to treat plantaris tendon–related midportion Achilles tendinopathy. The procedure starts with the ultrasound-guided insertion of an uncoated needle (diameter, 0.30–0.40 mm; length, 30 mm) between the plantaris and Achilles tendons. Subsequently, galvanic current (intensity, 2 mA) is locally transferred, which induces instant nonthermal electrochemical ablation of the intertendinous tissues in close proximity to the needle, finally debriding the plantaris tendon. To further promote its release, the second part of the procedure involves partial tenotomy of the lateral peripheral aspects of the plantaris tendon. Usually, the session does not exceed 30 min. Percutaneous needle electrolysis may be considered as a valid alternative to surgery. The outpatient procedure presented herein is, in fact, safe and quick to perform. In addition, long suspension of working or sporting activities after treatment is not required. Future investigations are needed to ascertain the short- and long-term therapeutic outcomes of plantaris tendon–related midportion Achilles tendinopathy treatment, in particular by comparing them with those obtained with other mini-invasive interventions.

Corresponding author: Carlos Moreno, PT, MSK Sonographer, Medical Services, Udinese Football Club, Viale A. e A. Candolini, 2, Udine, Udine 33100, Italy. (E-mail: cmpfisioterapia@hotmail.com)