Take this study for what it’s worth. I don’t spend time in the clinic performing ice massages, they can do that at home if they see fit. I don’t even go out of the way to recommend it. Also, every patient with achilles tendinopathy I see gets progressive eccentric resistance exercises. Pain mod, and load it.
Study Design: Single-blind, randomized, clinical trial.
Background: The effect of eccentric training for mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy is well documented; however, its effect on insertional Achilles tendinopathy is inconclusive. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of eccentric training on pain and function for individuals with insertional Achilles tendinopathy.
Methods: All patients received a 12-week conventional strengthening protocol. Patients who were randomly assigned to the experimental group received additional eccentric exercises. Patients completed the Short Form-36 Health and Bodily Pain Surveys, the Foot and Ankle Outcomes Questionnaire, and the Visual Analog Scale at initial evaluation, after 6 weeks of therapy, and at 12 weeks after therapy.
Results: Thirty-six patients (20 control and 16 experimental; average age 54 years; 72% women) completed the study. Both groups experienced statistically significant decreases in pain and improvements in function. No statistically significant differences were noted between the groups for any of the outcome measures.
Conclusion: Conventional physical therapy consisting of gastrocnemius, soleus and hamstring stretches, ice massage on the Achilles tendon, and use of heel lifts and night splints with or without eccentric training is effective for treating insertional Achilles tendinopathy.
Level of Evidence: Level 2
Keywords: Achilles tendinopathy, eccentric training, posterior heel pain
Photo credit: https://www.myfootdr.com.au/conditions-treated/achilles-tendinopathy/