Indexed on: 05 Nov '14Published on: 05 Nov '14Published in: Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
In published efficacy studies on Achilles tendinopathy (AT) exercise alone results in improvement in 60-90% of the cases. However, this high success rate cannot be expected in usual clinical practice. We prospectively investigated the effectiveness of a treatment regimen consisting of home-based exercises (concentric, eccentric, and stretching) and optional glucocorticosteroid (GCS) injections in patients with (AT) in a usual clinical setting. Patients unable to commence or progress in exercise were offered GCS, hypothesizing that the GCS would facilitate exercise. Ninety-three consecutive patients with AT referred to two outpatient rheumatology clinics were registered, and seen at five visits over a 6-month period. Exercises seemed to have a slow, but long-lasting effect with GCS having a dramatic short-term effect on symptoms. Twenty-six percent of the patients could proceed with training alone, the remainder received one to three supplementary GCS. There were significant improvements on all outcome variables over time (P ≤ 0.001). At follow-up, 42 had no more symptoms, 29 good result, 16 slightly improved, 4 unchanged, and 2 slightly worse. Overall, 94% of the patients had improved, and we thus recommend the use of GCS injections in AT patients if training alone does not lead to improvement.