Thirty-three subjects entered a blind-observer, random, prospective study of three forms of conservative treatment of sports-induced Achilles tendinitis, results being assessed by clinical and biomechanical parameters. Two patient groups received heel pads, ultrasound, and exercises, while the third received only ultrasound and exercises. All three groups showed some improvement at both 10 day and 2 month assessment, but the claimed benefit of viscoelastic pads widely used by athletes was not substantiated. The more striking benefit from ultrasound and exercises alone occurred in patients with a shorter history; a comparison of duration of injury in all three groups suggested this was an important factor influencing outcome. The study has highlighted the need for biomechanical outcome measures as well as for more objective clinical outcome measures in the assessment of physical therapy.