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Glucocorticoids are generally used to relieve pain and/or inflammation in a wide variety of musculoskeletal disorders including osteoarthritis, inflammatory arthritis, tendinopathy and degenerative spine disease. Glucocorticoids reduce tendon derived cell proliferation in vitro and reduce extracellular matrix synthesis both in vitro and in vivo, in particular type I collagen synthesis. Glucocorticoids also appear to result in acute deleterious changes in healthy in vivo tendon including collagen necrosis, collagen disorganisation and inflammatory cell infiltration; while the overall effect of glucocorticoid administration on the mechanical properties of healthy in vivo tendon are generally negative. Overall the existing in vitro and in vivo evidence suggests that glucocorticoids should be used with caution in treating painful tendinopathy. Certainly a real need exists to follow up the long term clinical effects of glucocorticoid in treating tendinopathy, as there is currently a paucity of evidence in this area. However in this context while the short term benefits are clear, glucocorticoids remain a useful treatment option provided they are used in the right patients in sensible moderation.

Original publication




Journal article


Adv exp med biol

Publication Date





239 - 246


Cells, Glucocorticoid, Steroid, Tendinopathy, Tendon, Animals, Glucocorticoids, Humans, Tendinopathy, Tendons