Background: Hyperthermia has been introduced as a physical therapy modality for soft tissue injuries.
Hypothesis: The authors tested the null hypothesis that there are no short-term differences after the use of hyperthermia, ultrasound, and exercises for tendinopathy of the supraspinatus tendon.
Study design: Randomized controlled trial; Level of evidence, 1.
Methods: The authors studied 37 athletes (29 men, 8 women; mean age, 26.7 +/- 5.8 years; range, 19-43 years) with supraspinatus tendinopathy who had had symptoms between 3 and 6 months. Subjects were randomly assigned to 3 groups. Group A (n = 14) received hyperthermia at 434 MHz. Group B (n = 12) received continuous ultrasound at 1 MHz at an intensity of 2.0 w/cm(2) 3 times a week. Group C (n = 11) undertook exercises, consisting of pendular swinging and stretching exercises 5 minutes twice a day every day. All interventions were undertaken for 4 weeks. Subjects were evaluated at baseline, immediately on completion of treatment, and at 6 weeks after the end of the intervention using mean pain score for pain at night, during movement, and at rest on a visual analog scale; pain on resisted movement and painful arc on active abduction between 40 degrees and 120 degrees on a 4-point scale; and Constant score.
Results: Patients who received hyperthermia experienced significantly better pain relief than did patients receiving ultrasound or exercises: group A, 5.96 to 1.2 (P = .03); group B, 6.3 to 5.15 (P = .10); group C, 6.1 to 4.9 (P = .09).
Conclusion: Hyperthermia at 434 MHz appears safe and effective in the short term for the management of supraspinatus tendinopathy.