OBJECTIVE: The study examined whether the addition of a night splint to eccentric exercises is beneficial for functional outcome in chronic mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy. DESIGN: One-year follow-up of a randomised controlled single blinded clinical trial. SETTING: Sports medicine department in a general hospital. PATIENTS: 58 patients (70 tendons) were included. INTERVENTIONS: All patients completed a 12-week heavy load eccentric training programme. One group received a night splint in addition to eccentric exercises. Main outcome measurements: Outcome scores were: Victorian Institute of Sport Assessment - Achilles (VISA-A) score, subjective patient satisfaction and neovascularisation score measured with Power Doppler Ultrasonography. RESULTS: For both groups the VISA-A score increased significantly (from 50 to 76 (P < 0.01) in the eccentric group and from 49 to 78 (P < 0.01) in the night splint group). No significant differences in VISA-A score were found between the groups from baseline to one year (P = 0.32). Presence of neovessels at baseline did not predict change in VISA-A score after one year in the whole group (P = 0.71). CONCLUSION: Eccentric exercises with or without a night splint improved functional outcome at one-year follow-up. At follow-up there was no significant difference in clinical outcome when a night splint was used in addition to an eccentric exercise program. Between three months and one year follow-up, a continuing increase in VISA-A score was found. Assessment of the neovascularisation score with PDU at baseline has no prognostic value on long-term clinical outcome.

British Journal of Sports Medicine: an international peer-reviewed journal of sport and exercise medicine
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Jonge, S., de Vos, R.-J., van Schie, H., Verhaar, J., Weir, A., & Tol, J. (2010). One-year follow-up of a randomised controlled trial on added splinting to eccentric exercises in chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy. British Journal of Sports Medicine: an international peer-reviewed journal of sport and exercise medicine, 44(9), 673–677. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/15196