A 5-year follow-up study of Alfredson's heel-drop exercise programme in chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy
British Journal of Sports Medicine: an international peer-reviewed journal of sport and exercise medicine , Volume 46 - Issue 3 p. 214- 218
Background: Eccentric exercises have the most evidence in conservative treatment of midportion Achilles tendinopathy. Although short-term studies show significant improvement, little is known of the long-term (>3 years) results. Aim: To evaluate the 5-year outcome of patients with chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy treated with the classical Alfredson's heel-drop exercise programme. Study design: Part of a 5-year follow-up of a previously conducted randomised controlled trial. Methods: 58 patients (70 tendons) were approached 5 years after the start of the heel-drop exercise programme according to Alfredson. At baseline and at 5-year follow-up, the validated Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment-Achilles (VISA-A) questionnaire score, pain status, alternative treatments received and ultrasonographic neovascularisation score were recorded. Results: In 46 patients (58 tendons), the VISA-A score significantly increased from 49.2 at baseline to 83.6 after 5 years (p<0.001) and from the 1-year to 5-year follow-up from 75.0 to 83.4 (p<0.01). 39.7% of the patients were completely pain-free at follow-up and 48.3% had received one or more alternative treatments. The sagittal tendon thickness decreased from 8.05 mm (SD 2.1) at baseline to 7.50 mm (SD 1.6) at the 5-year follow-up (p=0.051). Conclusion: At 5-year follow-up, a significant increase of VISA-A score can be expected. After the 3-month Alfredson's heel-drop exercise programme, almost half of the patients had received other therapies. Although improvement of symptoms can be expected at long term, mild pain may remain.
|Achilles tendinopathy, orthopaedics, sport injuries, sports medicine|
|British Journal of Sports Medicine: an international peer-reviewed journal of sport and exercise medicine|
|Organisation||Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam|
van der Plas, J.F.A.N, de Jonge, S, de Vos, R.J, van der Heide, H.J.L, Verhaar, J.A.N, Weir, A, & Tol, J.L. (2012). A 5-year follow-up study of Alfredson's heel-drop exercise programme in chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy. British Journal of Sports Medicine: an international peer-reviewed journal of sport and exercise medicine, 46(3), 214–218. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2011-090035