February 2011

Eccentric exercise fails to add benefit for insertional Achilles tendinosis

In the moment: Tendinopathy

A multimodal therapy regimen produces positive results in patients with insertional Achilles tendinosis but is not enhanced by the addition of eccentric exercise, according to research from Campbell Clinic Orthopedics in Memphis presented in February at the APTA’s Combined Sections Meeting.

A therapy protocol including stretching, dorsal night splints, heel lifts, and icing was associated with significant improvements in pain and function after 12 weeks in 18 subjects with chronic insertional Achilles tendinosis. Similar improvements were also seen in 15 patients who received the same therapies plus eccentric exercises twice daily, but no significant between-group differences were seen.

The results are consistent with those of previous studies, which have found eccentric exercise to be effective for improving pain and function primarily in patients with midportion Achilles tendinosis but not for those with tendinosis closer to the insertion site. Previous studies have also found that eccentric training is less likely to be effective in female patients and those with high body mass index, both of which were characteristics of the Memphis study population.

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