One-year follow-up of a randomised controlled trial on added splinting to eccentric exercises in chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy

Br J Sports Med. 2010 Jul;44(9):673-7. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2008.052142. Epub 2008 Oct 6.


Objective: The study examined whether the addition of a night splint to eccentric exercises is beneficial for functional outcome in chronic midportion 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 (VISAA) score, subjective patient satisfaction and neovascularisation score measured with power Doppler ultrasonography (PDU).

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 the VISA-A score were found between the groups from baseline to one year (p = 0.32). The presence of neovessels at baseline did not predict a change in the 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 programme. Between 3 months and one year follow-up, a continuing increase in the VISA-A score was found. Assessment of the neovascularisation score with PDU at baseline has no prognostic value on long-term clinical outcome.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Splints*
  • Tendinopathy / therapy*
  • Young Adult