Achilles surgery alternative prevented Wembley heartache - Chris Hackett

Achilles injuries in football can be problematic. Being aware of all available options to manage the tendinopathies effectively & safely, ensured this pro player didn't miss his big day. Our in-game research with TRB Chemedica provided valuable insight from the pro player perspective. 



The problem


Rigours of a football season throw up scenarios influenced by load. Success brings increased fixtures and intensity to playing squads.

Former pro player Chris Hackett (16-year career) had an injury-ravaged season because of an Achilles tendon problem. After facing the prospect of Achilles surgery, he was struggling to reach the end of the season. 

Tendinopathies have the uncanny knack of disrupting the best-laid plans for players and their clubs. At the top of the game, fatigue can be managed. Bigger pools of playing staff mean squad rotation can provide rest & proper injury recovery. Lower down the leagues this luxury isn't afforded to all.


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You manage it initially. Just before Christmas, I felt some tenderness in my Achilles

Chris Hackett - to football4football


Unlike breaks or tears, Achilles injuries tend to be gradual. Prolonged periods of putting the foot on and then off the gas can last throughout a season. Granted, players can keep being 'available' for selection but generally with reduced performance levels. 

Physiological constraints influence emotional well-being. Players carrying an injury will normally play within themselves. 


I wasn't fully going. It was playing with my mind.

Chris Hackett - to football4football


The location of the Achilles tendon means it's vital for the majority of movements on the pitch. Success at managing problems when they occur there can come down to position and playing type. Anything that requires explosive movement, jumping or stabilisation will be limited.


The research


Football club medical teams face dilemma's when combatting Achilles tendon conditions in affected players. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy or Dry Needling 'are' procedures that can include invasive surgery with lengthy recovery times. TRB Chemidica's Ostenil Tendon has been clinically tested against conventional short-term options of corticosteroid treatment as well as shock wave therapy with positive results. 


Clinical_examination-of_achillies_tendon_football4footballEXAMINE: Initial 'hands-on' consultation highlights Achilles problem


Tendon Sheaths

Wherever muscle power is directed around a corner to reach the intended bone, the human body uses tendon sheaths. These are filled with a fluid very similar to synovial joint fluid and can be considered as protective friction bearings, helping guard the tendon from mechanical stress as it glides across bony structures. When healthy, the tendon sheaths ensure a smooth gliding of the tendon around the corner. But the stress at this point is particularly high, which can cause tendinopathy in the tendon sheath.

Source  TRB Chemedica


For players suffering from tendinopathies, the outcomes of Ostenil Tendon presented a preferred pathway to staying on the pitch.


More often than not, they tend to work. It's been a while since I operated on a tendonitis

Prof. Sanjiv Jari - to football4football



Advancements in Hyaluronic Acid utilisation by orthopaedic surgeons for ankle and knee injuries has promoted its potential for other inflammatory conditions. Having previously shown benefits for joint injuries with Ostenil Plus, TRB Chemica identified the opportunity to help treat problematic tendons.



There was pressure to play week in week out. You're fighting for a contract

Chris Hackett - to football4football



Having spoken to injured players, Hackett was directed to the injury team at football4football. He and the club physio were presented with a series of potential solutions to get Chris pain free and able to play.  Their chosen route saw them in consultation with a leading sports orthopaedic, Prof Sanjiv Jari. With an Ostenil Tendon injection the chosen procedure. 

Benefits of Ostenil Tendon

  •  Acts as a lubricant
  •  Enhances tendon glide
  •  Promotes tendon recovery
  •  Transports nutrients
  •  Provides pain relief
  •  Prevents inflammation




The procedure


Ostenil Tendon is a non-invasive treatment. Avoiding the need for lengthy surgery, it's injected into the tendon sheath (intrasheath injection) or around the affected tendon (peritendinous injection). Done under ultrasound precise placement can be ensured. 


Ultrasound_Injection_football4footballLOCATE: Injection under ultrasound for accurate administration


Once injected, distribution along the entire tendon happens through natural movement. Several tendons can be treated at the same time. Yes, injections aren't always liked by footballers, but the procedure is considered less problematic than 'slice & dice'.


I was a bit apprehensive, but the procedure was done really quickly. I didn't feel much at all.

Chris Hackett - to football4football


The result


Engaging with numerous footballers about on-field performance and concerns over being sidelined, we found one common school of thought. Getting back on to the pitch as quickly as possible was paramount. Competition for places is fierce. Extended dialogue with senior pro players & medical teams, saw long-term health and playing longevity the real driver. The balancing act is achieving a speedy, safe, and longlasting solution for all injuries. 

As on-pitch performance is enhanced by research, data, and realtime metrics the medical field is moving at an even faster rate to become the safety net for athletes. 


Nobody wants a player back on the pitch more than the backroom staff. The player's health is our primary concern though.

Leading football physio - Pete Friar to football4football



Chris_Hackett_playing_for_Northhampton_football4footballSTEADY: Pain management meant Chris Hackett adapted his game


Without Ostenil, I wouldn't have been able to play at Wembley. With other procedures I would have been out for the season.

Chris Hackett - to football4football


Financial & personal rewards in the pro game mean there can be a disconnect between what a footballer thinks and what their body feels. Club physiotherapists & medics have to be ready to identify this and offer solutions to facilitate it.


Final Note

Even when seemingly fit, Achilles injuries can have a huge psychological effect on how a player performs. Not having 100% trust in your body will always hinder the performance on the pitch.

Whilst these issues can be fixed with operations, it's incredibly time-consuming and risky. Many players have come out of surgery in a worse position than they were before. That's why a fast-acting injection makes sense.

Whilst many people dislike having injections, it's favourable to a long operation that many players are kept awake for and takes ages to come into effect. With Ostenil, players can get back on the pitch at full capacity, much quicker.


football4football, as the leading independent football resource, carry out impartial research on products & services used in football. All opinions are our own and that of the professional players & experts we work with.

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