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

Chronic Achilles tendinopathy treated with eccentric stretching program.

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SPORTSMED.SA Sports Medicine Clinic, Adelaide, Australia.



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


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.


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.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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