Background: Most knowledge regarding conservative management for lower limb tendinopathy (LLT) is for persistent symptoms, with less known about conservative management of acute LLT. Sub-optimal management of acute LLT is detrimental in many regards, not least the likely conversion to persistent symptoms.
Objectives: To synthesise existing literature on conservative management of acute LLTs.
Design: Systematic review of relevant literature (PROSPERO [ID: CRD42018117882]).
Method: A search was made of multiple databases (MEDLINE, CINAHL and EMBASE) using relevant search terms. Titles, abstracts and then full texts were filtered to find articles that met the strict inclusion/exclusion criteria. Searching, data extraction and quality assessment, using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation, were done independently by two authors. To understand how the interventions impacted the duration of reported symptoms, results were split into three time points: short-term (<4 weeks), medium-term (4-12 weeks) and long-term (>12 weeks).
Results: Thirteen studies (n = 534) met the criteria for inclusion. There was very low level of certainty for the effectiveness of interventions at short-term, medium-term and long-term follow ups. However, there were large effects seen across a number of different treatments on pain intensity and disability in LLTs.
Conclusions: This review demonstrates that limited evidence currently exists to guide the management of acute LLT, and the quality of the existing evidence is collectively low. These findings inform the discussion of different treatment options with patients in a shared decision-making process to empower and enable the patient.
Keywords: acute; conservative management; lower limb; tendinopathy.
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.