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Clin J Sport Med. 2017 Oct 10. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000520. [Epub ahead of print]

Comparison of the Effect of 5 Different Treatment Options for Managing Patellar Tendinopathy: A Secondary Analysis.

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Center for Sports Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.
Department of Sports Medicine, Martini ziekenhuis Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.



Currently, no treatments exist for patellar tendinopathy (PT) that guarantee quick and full recovery. Our objective was to assess which treatment option provides the best chance of clinical improvement and to assess the influence of patient and injury characteristics on the clinical effect of these treatments.


A secondary analysis was performed on the combined databases of 3 previously performed double-blind randomized controlled trials.


In total, 138 patients with PT were included in the analysis.


Participants were divided into 5 groups, based on the treatment they received: Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) (n = 31), ESWT plus eccentric training (n = 43), eccentric training (n = 17), topical glyceryl trinitrate patch plus eccentric training (n = 16), and placebo treatment (n = 31).


Clinical improvement (increase of ≥13 points on the Victorian Institute of Sport Assessment-Patella score) after 3 months of treatment.


Fifty-two patients (37.7%) improved clinically after 3 months of treatment. Odds ratios (ORs) for clinical improvement were significantly higher in the eccentric training group (OR 6.68, P = 0.009) and the ESWT plus eccentric training group (OR 5.42, P = 0.015) compared with the other groups. We found evidence that a high training volume, a longer duration of symptoms, and older age negatively influence a treatment's clinical outcome (trend toward significance).


Our study confirmed the importance of exercise, and eccentric training in particular, in the management of PT. The role of ESWT remains uncertain. Further research focusing on the identified prognostic factors is needed to be able to design patient-specific treatment protocols for the management of PT.

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