Background: The value of strengthening and stretching exercises combined with orthosis treatment in a home-based program has not been evaluated. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of augmenting orthosis treatment with either stretching or a combination of stretching and strengthening in participants with stage II tibialis posterior tendon dysfunction (TPTD).
Methods: Participants included 39 patients with stage II TPTD who were recruited from a medical center and then randomly assigned to a strengthening or stretching treatment group. Excluding 3 dropouts, there were 19 participants in the strengthening group and 17 in the stretching group. The stretching treatment consisted of a prefabricated orthosis used in conjunction with stretching exercises. The strengthening treatment consisted of a prefabricated orthosis used in conjunction with the stretching and strengthening exercises. The main outcome measures were self-report (ie, Foot Function Index and Short Musculoskeletal Function Assessment) and isometric deep posterior compartment strength. Two-way analysis of variance was used to test for differences between groups at 6 and 12 weeks after starting the exercise programs.
Results: Both groups significantly improved in pain and function over the 12-week trial period. The self-report measures showed minimal differences between the treatment groups. There were no differences in isometric deep posterior compartment strength.
Conclusions: A moderate-intensity, home-based exercise program was minimally effective in augmenting orthosis wear alone in participants with stage II TPTD.
Level of evidence: Level I, prospective randomized study.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00756457.
Keywords: foot; rehabilitation; tendinopathy.
© The Author(s) 2015.