Eccentric training in the treatment of tendinopathy

University dissertation from Umeå : Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Sports Medicine

Abstract: Chronic painful tendinopathies are common, not only in sports and recreationally active people, but also among people with a sedentary lifestyle. Both the lower and upper limbs are affected. There is lack of knowledge about the etiology and pathogenesis to tendinopathy, and many different treatments options have been presented. Unfortunately, most treatments have not been tested in scientific studies. Conservative (non-surgical) treatment has since long shown unsatisfactory results and surgical treatment is known to give unpredictable results.The aim of this thesis was to evaluate new models of painful eccentric training for the conservative treatment of different chronic tendinopathies. After promising results in a pilot study, using painful eccentric calf muscle training in patients with chronic mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy, we investigated if these results could be reproduced in a larger group of patients with both mid-portion and insertional Achilles tendinopathy (study I). After 12 weeks, 89% of the patients with pain from the mid-portion were satisfied and back in previous activities. In the group with insertional Achilles tendinopathy the results were poor. A new model for eccentric training was designed for patients with insertional Achilles tendinopathy. The eccentric calf muscle training was done from tip-toe to floor level (study II). With this new regimen 67% of the patients were satisfied and back in previous activities. The next step was to investigate the effects of painful eccentric quadriceps training on patients with jumper´s knee/patellar tendinopathy (study III). Two different training protocols were used. Eccentric training performed on a 250 decline board showed promising results with reduced pain and a return to previous activities, while eccentric training without the decline board had poor results. In a following prospective study, patients with jumper´s knee/patellar tendinopathy were randomised to either concentric or eccentric painful quadriceps training on a 250 decline board (study IV). After 12 weeks of training, there were significantly better results in the group that did eccentric training. In a pilot study (study V), we investigated painful eccentric deltoideus and supraspinatus muscle training on a small group of patients on the waiting list for surgical treatment of subacromial impingement syndrome. After 12 weeks of training, 5 out of 9 patients were satisfied with the results of treatment and withdrew from the waiting list for surgery.In conclusion, the present studies showed good clinical results with low risks of side effects and low costs. Thus, we suggest that painful eccentric training should be tried in patients with Achilles and patellar tendinopathy before intratendinous injections and surgery are considered. For patients with chronic painful impingement syndrome, the results of our small pilot study are interesting, and stimulates to randomised studies on larger materials.