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Clin J Sport Med. 2017 Nov 16. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000549. [Epub ahead of print]

Isometric Exercise to Reduce Pain in Patellar Tendinopathy In-Season; Is It Effective "on the Road?"

Author information

1
The Australian Collaboration for Research in Injury and Its Prevention (ACRISP), La Trobe University, Bundoora VIC, Australia.
2
La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Centre (LASEM), School of Allied Health, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia.
3
The Australian Institute of Sport, Physical Therapies Department, Bruce ACT, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the effectiveness of an isometric squat exercise using a portable belt, on patellar tendon pain and function, in athletes during their competitive season.

DESIGN:

Case series with no requirements to change any aspect of games or training. The object of this pragmatic study was to investigate this intervention in addition to "usual management." A control or sham intervention was considered unacceptable to teams.

SETTING:

In-season.

PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 25 male and female elite and subelite athletes from 5 sports.

INTERVENTION:

5 × 30-second isometric quadriceps squat exercise using a rigid belt completed over a 4-week period.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

(1) single-leg decline squat (SLDS)-a pain provocation test for the patellar tendon (numerical rating score of pain between 0 and 10), (2) VISA-P questionnaire assessing patellar tendon pain and function, and (3) self-reported adherence with completing the exercise over a 4-week period.

RESULTS:

Baseline SLDS pain was high for these in-season athletes, median 7.5/10 (range 3.5-9) and was significantly reduced over the 4-week intervention (P < 0.001, ES r = 0.580, median change 3.5). VISA-P scores improved after intervention (P < 0.001, ES r = 0.568, mean change 12.2 ± 8.9, percentage mean change 18.8%, where minimum clinical important difference of relative change for VISA-P is 15.4%-27%). Adherence was high; athletes reported completing the exercise 5 times per week.

CONCLUSIONS:

This pragmatic study suggests that a portable isometric squat reduced pain in-season for athletes with PT. This form of treatment may be effective, but clinical trials with a control group are needed to confirm the results.

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