October 2014

Orthoses add no benefit to eccentric calf training for Achilles tendinopathy

In the moment: Rehabilitation

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Customized foot orthoses are no more effective than sham orthoses for improving pain and function in patients with Achilles tendinopathy when used in combination with eccentric calf exercises, according to research from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.

A group of 140 patients with midportion Achilles tendinopathy, who had experienced symptoms for at least three months, were randomized to wear customized orthoses or sham orthoses. The customized orthoses were made from polypropylene with an ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) rearfoot post and additional modifications based on Foot Posture Index scores. The sham orthoses were similar in shape to the customized orthoses and had a similar topcover, but were made from 4-mm EVA and provided no structural support. All patients were also instructed to do eccentric calf exercises twice daily.

After three months, Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment-Achilles scores did not differ significantly between the 67 patients who wore customized orthoses and the 73 patients who wore sham orthoses. The findings were epublished on September 22 by the British Journal of Sports Medicine.


Munteanu SE, Scott LA, Bonanno DR, et al. Effectiveness of customized foot orthoses for Achilles tendinopathy: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Sports Med 2014 Sep 22. [Epub ahead of print]

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