Aim: To assess whether the use of a night splint is of added benefit on functional outcome in treating chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy.
Methods: This was a single-blind, prospective, single centre, randomised controlled trial set in the Sports Medical Department, The Hague Medical Centre, The Netherlands. Inclusion criteria were: age 18–70 years, active participation in sports, and tendon pain localised at 2–7 cm from distal insertion. Exclusion criteria were: insertional disorders, partial or complete ruptures, or systemic illness. 70 tendons were included and randomised into one of two treatment groups: eccentric exercises with a night splint (night splint group, n = 36) or eccentric exercises only (eccentric group, n = 34).
Interventions: Both groups completed a 12-week heavy-load eccentric training programme. One group received a night splint in addition to eccentric exercises. At baseline and follow-up at 12 weeks, patient satisfaction, Victorian Institute of Sport Assessment–Achilles questionnaire (VISA-A) score and reported compliance were recorded by a single-blind trained researcher who was blinded to the treatment.
Results: After 12 weeks, patient satisfaction in the eccentric group was 63% compared with 48% in the night splint group. The VISA-A score significantly improved in both groups; in the eccentric group from 50.1 to 68.8 (p = 0.001) and in the night splint group from 49.4 to 67.0 (p<0.001). There was no significant difference between the two groups in VISA-A score (p = 0.815) and patient satisfaction (p = 0.261).
Conclusion: A night splint is not beneficial in addition to eccentric exercises in the treatment of chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Published Online First 18 December 2006
Competing interests: None declared.
Informed consent was obtained for publication of all photographs in this paper.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.