Topical Fish Oil Application Coupling with Therapeutic Ultrasound Improves Tendon Healing

Karly O.W. Chan, Henry H.Y. Tong, Gabriel Y.F. Ng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Fish oil has been shown to promote collagen synthesis, and hence, connective tissue healing. Therapeutic ultrasound is commonly used to treat soft tissue injuries. This study aimed to investigate the therapeutic effect of topical fish oil on the management of Achilles tendon rupture, comparing normal therapeutic ultrasound with a combination of ultrasound and fish oil. Eighty-five Sprague-Dawley rats underwent surgical hemitenotomy of the right medial Achilles tendon. The rats received daily treatment of either topical placebo ointment (control group [CON]), topical fish oil (FO), therapeutic ultrasound (US) or ultrasound with fish oil as the coupling medium (FU). The treatment started on post-surgical day 2 over a 2-wk or 4-wk period. On days 15 and 29, the rats were sacrificed and their Achilles tendons were tested for structural stiffness, ultimate tensile strength (UTS) and energy absorption capacity. At 2 wk, only US showed higher normalized UTS compared with CON (p < 0.05). At 4 wk, both US and FU demonstrated better UTS (p < 0.05), while both FO and FU had improved in structural stiffness (p < 0.05). Four wk of treatment with ultrasound using fish oil as coupling medium showed improvement in both structural stiffness and UTS (p < 0.05).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2983-2989
Number of pages7
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • Achilles tendon rupture
  • Fish oil
  • Omega-3
  • Repair
  • Therapeutic ultrasound


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