Does pressure massage help Achilles Tendinopathy?

Catherine Logan

September 16th, 2019

Using Pressure Massage for Achilles Tendinopathy: A Single-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing a Novel Treatment Versus an Eccentric Exercise Protocol
Source: OJSM, first published March 21, 2019

Clinical Question: Does pressure massage (PM) improve the outcome of conservative management for Achilles Tendinopathy (AT)?

Bottom Line: Long-term difference was not demonstrated between eccentric exercise (standard of care) and PM at 24-weeks. It may be useful in the early stages of recovery.

Points to consider: Randomized groups included eccentric exercise protocol (1), pressure massage (2), and both (3). Measurements included ROM, an Achilles assessment questionnaire (VISA-A-IS), pressure pain testing, and an US scan. All groups improved (P<.0001) with VISA-A-IS scores. The PM-group improved significantly more than eccentric exercise group at week 4 – but this was the only between-group difference.

Takeaway: Pressure massage is likely useful in the early stages of treatment for AT. Surprisingly, combining the treatments did not improve long-term outcome.

About the Author:
Catherine A. Logan, MD, MBA, MSPT is a sports medicine Orthopaedic Surgeon and writer. Based in Denver, CO, she is an attending at Colorado Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics at Rose Medical Center. Dr. Logan is the Head League Physician for Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) member of the team physician pool for the US Ski & Snowboard teams each year. Dr. Logan completed her Orthopaedic Surgery residency at the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program and her Sports Medicine Fellowship training at the prestigious Steadman Philippon Research Institute/The Steadman Clinic in Vail, CO. Logan is also on the board of The Chill Foundation.