Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Foot FAQ


Have you ever heard of a treatment called Anodyne for tendon problems? Does it work? Should I try it for my chronic Achilles tendon problem?


In 1998, researchers received the Nobel Prize in medicine for their discovery of a molecule called nitric oxide. This molecule is made up of one nitrogen (N) and one oxygen (O) atom. It is present in all mammals, including humans. It is NOT the same as nitrous oxide (N2O), the laughing gas used by dentists. Nitric oxide does many, many things in the body. For example, it acts like teflon in the blood vessels. It keeps the blood moving smoothly and prevents plaque build-up that causes atherosclerosis. It helps with long-term memory, sexual function, nerve transmission, and boosts the immune system function. Scientists have since discovered that it also plays a role in wound healing for fractures and tendon damage. The word anodyne is a Greek word for pain reliever. It has been used to name a device that increases nitric oxide formation in the body for healing and recovery. Anodyne Therapy is infrared light therapy device used to increase circulation and reduce pain, stiffness and muscle spasm. It has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a way to temporarily achieve these results. The treatment is delivered via pads that are applied to the skin of the affected body part. The light energy helps increase blood flow thereby delivering healing cells and nutrients to the injured site. The idea behind the treatment is to increase circulation to the area to promote a healing response. The treatment has been used for nerve damage, poor circulation, tendon problems, stress fractures, pressure ulcers, bursitis, arthritis, and many other chronic conditions. There have been variety of scientific journals and articles published on Anodyne and its benefits. It is a fairly new area of research. Results of studies published have not been analyzed yet to formulate an overall assessment of its effectiveness for these various conditions. Christopher J. Pearce, FRCS(Tr&Orth), MFSEM(UK), et al. Is Apoptosis the Cause of Noninsertional Achilles Tendinopathy? In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. December 2009. Vol. 37. No. 12. Pp. 2440-2444.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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