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A randomised feasibility study using an acupuncture protocol to the Achilles tendon in Achilles tendinopathy

Kishmishian, B and Richards, J and Selfe, J (2019) A randomised feasibility study using an acupuncture protocol to the Achilles tendon in Achilles tendinopathy. Physiotherapy Practice and Research, 40 (1). pp. 59-67. ISSN 2213-0683

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Abstract

© 2019 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved. BACKGROUND: The prevalence of Achilles tendinopathy is greatest in activities including middle and long distance running, tennis, badminton, volleyball, and its incidence is increasing. However, currently no gold standard treatment for Achilles tendinopathy exists, although eccentric exercises are commonly recommended. PURPOSE: This study aimed to investigate the changes in clinical scores when administering a) acupuncture and b) sham acupuncture to the Achilles tendon in patients diagnosed with Achilles tendinopathy who did not respond to modified eccentric exercises. METHODS: Twenty-two patients were randomised and received either acupuncture or the control sham acupuncture treatment. VISA-A, NPRS, EQ-5D and GRC were recorded before treatment at week 0, then at week 2, week 4 with a final follow-up review at week 12. MAIN RESULTS: Acupuncture resulted in significant differences between groups and time points in VISA-A, NPRS, EQ-5D and GRC. The Acupuncture group reached the minimum clinically important difference (MCID) threshold for important difference, when compared to sham acupuncture. The difference between treatments would suggest a beneficial response following the use of acupuncture to the Achilles tendon in Achilles tendinopathy. PRINCIPAL CONCLUSIONS: The overall findings suggest the use of a standardised acupuncture protocol to the Achilles tendon is a viable treatment alternative, which could be used as a second line treatment in patients diagnosed with Achilles tendinopathy who did not respond to eccentric exercises. However, in view of the small sample size, the results of this feasibility study should be viewed with caution.

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