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Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy

Print version ISSN 1413-3555On-line version ISSN 1809-9246


FOLHA, Roberta A. C. et al. Can transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation improve achilles tendon healing in rats?. Braz. J. Phys. Ther. [online]. 2015, vol.19, n.6, pp.433-440.  Epub Sep 01, 2015. ISSN 1809-9246.


Tendon injury is one of the most frequent injuries in sports activities. TENS is a physical agent used in the treatment of pain but its influence on the tendon's healing process is unclear.


To evaluate the influence of TENS on the healing of partial rupture of the Achilles tendon in rats.


Sixty Wistar rats were submitted to a partial rupture of the Achilles tendon by direct trauma and randomized into six groups (TENS or Sham stimulation) and the time of evaluation (7, 14, and 21 days post-injury). Burst TENS was applied for 30 minutes, 6 days, 100 Hz frequency, 2 Hz burst frequency, 200 µs pulse duration, and 300 ms pulse train duration. Microscopic analyses were performed to quantify the blood vessels and mast cells, birefringence to quantify collagen fiber alignment, and immunohistochemistry to quantify types I and III collagen fibers.


A significant interaction was observed for collagen type I (p=0.020) where the TENS group presented lower percentage in 14 days after the lesion (p=0.33). The main group effect showed that the TENS group presented worse collagen fiber alignment (p=0.001) and lower percentage of collagen III (p=0.001) and the main time effect (p=0.001) showed decreased percentage of collagen III at 7 days (p=0.001) and 14 days (p=0.001) after lesion when compared to 21 days.


Burst TENS inhibited collagen I and III production and impaired its alignment during healing of partial rupture of the Achilles tendon in rats.

Keywords : tendon injuries; tendinopathy; TENS; physical therapy modalities; physical agents.

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