Background. The usual initial treatment for insertional Achilles tendinopathy is nonsurgical. Yet there is no standard conservative treatment for Achilles insertional tendinopathy. Shockwave therapy (SWT) has become a reliable option for the management of this illness over the past years. The aim of this study is to report the effectiveness of low-energy SWT associated with an eccentric strengthening protocol in 19 consecutive patients. Methods. This is a prospective study with 19 patients aged between 26 and 72 years diagnosed with insertional Achilles tendinopathy. The protocol consisted of SWT associated with eccentric exercises for 12 weeks. All patients were evaluated on the first day and after 24 weeks (final follow-up) with the Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment-Achilles (VISA-A) score, visual analogue scale (VAS), American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) questionnaire, and by algometry. At the last follow-up, patients were also assessed for adherence to the protocol, complications and final outcome (in their perception as success or fail). Results and Conclusion. Fifteen (79%) patients were fully adherent to the Alfredson protocol, and 13 (68%) patients considered the treatment protocol successful. At the last evaluation, patients demanded higher pressure on calcaneus to trigger pain (algometry 1), reported less pain when the algometer was applied with 3 kg (algometry 2), had less global pain (VAS), and had higher AOFAS and VISA-A scores. This study evidences that eccentric loading associated with SWT can dramatically improve patients' symptoms. We can conclude that eccentric loading associated with SWT is an effective treatment for Achilles insertional tendinopathy. Levels of Evidence: Therapeutic, Level III: Prospective cohort.
Keywords: Achilles tendon; Alfredson protocol; eccentric loading; high-energy shockwaves; insertional; tendinopathy.