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Foot Ankle Int. 2011 Sep;32(9):843-9.

Chronic Achilles tendinopathy treated with eccentric stretching program.

Author information

  • 1SPORTSMED.SA Sports Medicine Clinic, Adelaide, Australia. verrallg@bigpond.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This study assessed the efficacy of a modified eccentric heel-drop program (reduced time and increased duration of stretch) in treating chronic Achilles tendinopathy.

METHODS:

Athletes with at least 12 weeks of symptoms diagnosed clinically as chronic Achilles tendinopathy were enrolled in the study. The only treatment recommended was a 6-week eccentric stretching regimen, with each stretch being maintained for at least 15 seconds. Athletes were followed to assess the response to treatment using a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for pain and a patient effectiveness rating for treatment satisfaction as well as time to return to pre-injury activity level. Followup was successful in 156 (82%) of the athletes. A total of 190 athletes were seen with chronic Achilles tendinopathy.

RESULTS:

Mid-substance injuries were diagnosed in 168 (88%) with the remainder 22 (12%) having distal insertional injuries. Pain as assessed by VAS reduced from mean of 7.2 at commencement of the regimen to 2.9 (p<0.01) after 6 weeks of stretching. Six months post commencement of program mean pain was 1.1. Patient satisfaction was rated at 7 or above (excellent) in 124 (80%) of the athletes. For mid-substance injuries the satisfaction rating was excellent in 86%. Overall mean time to return to pre-morbid activity was 10 weeks.

CONCLUSION:

A modified 6-week eccentric heel-drop training regimen as the only treatment for chronic Achilles tendinopathy resulted in a high degree of patient satisfaction, reduced pain and a successful return to pre-morbid activity levels. These results were best for mid-substance rather than insertional tendinopathy.

PMID:
22097158
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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