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ORIGINAL RESEARCH

The effects of conventional physical therapy and eccentric strengthening for insertional achilles tendinopathy.  

Authors: Kedia M, Williams M, Jain L, Barron M, Bird N, Blackwell B, Richardson DR, Ishikawa S, Murphy GA

The effect of eccentric training for mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy is well documented; however, its effect on insertional Achilles tendinopathy is inconclusive. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of eccentric training on pain and function for individuals with insertional Achilles tendinopathy.  In this study, all patients received a 12-week conventional strengthening protocol. Patients who were randomly assigned to the experimental group received additional eccentric exercises.   Patients completed a the Short Form-36 Health Survey, the Foot and Ankle Outcomes Questionnaire, and a Visual Analog Scale at initial evaluation, after 6 weeks of therapy, and at 12 weeks after beginning therapy.  The authors found that in thirty-six patients (20 control and 16 experimental; average age 54 years; 72% women) who completed the study, both groups experienced statistically significant decreases in pain and improvements in function. No statistically significant differences were noted between the groups for any of the outcome measures.  Therefore the authors concluded that conventional physical therapy consisting of gastrocnemius, soleus, hamstring stretches, ice massage on the Achilles tendon, and use of heel lifts and night splints with or without eccentric training is effective for treating insertional Achilles tendinopathy.

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