Adipose-derived stromal vascular fraction injection in a competitive high-level athlete affected by insertional Achilles tendinopathy

Mirco Lo Presti, Giuseppe Gianluca Costa, Giuseppe Agrò, Cosimo Vasco, Pierpaolo Zunarelli, Stefano Zaffagnini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Achilles tendinopathy is one of the most common ankle and foot overuse injuries, especially among athletes. Despite this, the management of this injury lacks an evidence-based support, and patients are at risk of long-term morbidity with unpredictable clinical outcome. Recently, injective approach has gained more and more attention, and in particular the intratendinous injection with adipose-derived stromal vascular fraction. We report a case of an insertional Achilles tendinopathy in a high-level professional athlete, who was treated avoiding surgical treatment in favor of this innovative biological approach. Patient's satisfaction and return to play was prospectively evaluated for a period of 6 months of follow-up. An improvement of all functional scores was yet appreciated after 1 month from the treatment, with a crescent trend until the last 6-month follow-up. The patient was able to return to train after 34 days, and returned to match after 68 days, playing 20 minutes. She returned to the complete full game 72 days after treatment. However subsequent ultrasound and MRI evaluations failed to show any substantial changes in the characteristics of the lesion from the preoperative images. This case report opens a new window for the treatment of insertional Achilles tendinopathy in competitive athletes. The current outcome deserves further investigation with higher quality studies in order to confirm the validity of this fascinating therapeutic option.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-629
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • adipose-derived stem cells
  • athletes
  • sport
  • stromal vascular fraction


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