Eccentric calf muscle training compared with therapeutic ultrasound for chronic Achilles tendon pain--a pilot study.
Chester R., Costa ML., Shepstone L., Cooper A., Donell ST.
A number of studies have indicated that eccentric calf muscle training has beneficial effects in the management of Achilles tendon pain for recreational athletes. The purpose of this prospective randomised single blind pilot study was to investigate their potential effectiveness compared with therapeutic ultrasound in subjects with relatively sedentary lifestyles in an NHS hospital setting. Eleven men and five women (mean age 53+/-21 years) with Achilles tendon pain of minimum duration 4 months were randomised to one of two treatment groups; either eccentric loading or ultrasound. Administration of ultrasound and regular supervision of exercises occurred over a period of 6 weeks, with unsupervised exercises continuing for another 6 weeks. Outcome measurements were taken prior to and after 2, 4, 6 and 12 weeks after commencing treatment. They included: pain on a visual analogue scale, functional index of the leg and lower limb, and the five question EuroQol generalised health questionnaire. The difference in mean score was calculated together with 95% confidence intervals assuming a normal distribution. There were no statistically significant differences between groups or clear trends over time. In addition there was considerable overlap between the confidence intervals. This is not unexpected given the small sample size. Both interventions proved acceptable to the patients with no adverse effects. On this basis we intend conducting a full multi-centred study.