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Effect of pain education and exercise on pain and function in chronic achilles tendinopathy: protocol for a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial

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posted on 2021-01-22, 04:48 authored by AA Post, Ebonie RioEbonie Rio, KA Sluka, G Lorimer Moseley, EO Bayman, Mederic M Hall, C de Cesar Netto, JM Wilken, JF Danielson, R Chimenti
© 2020 JMIR Publications. All rights reserved. Background: Achilles tendinopathy (AT) rehabilitation traditionally includes progressive tendon loading exercises. Recent evidence suggests a biopsychosocial approach that incorporates patient education on psychosocial factors and mechanisms of pain can reduce pain and disability in individuals with chronic pain. This is yet to be examined in individuals with AT. Objective: This study aims to compare the effects on movement-evoked pain and self-reported function of pain education as part of a biopsychosocial approach with pathoanatomical education for people with AT when combined with a progressive tendon loading exercise program. Methods: A single-site, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial will be conducted in a university-based hospital in a laboratory setting and/or by telehealth. A total of 66 participants with chronic (>3 months) midportion or insertional AT will be randomized for the Tendinopathy Education of the Achilles (TEAch) study. All participants will complete progressive Achilles tendon loading exercises over 12 weeks and will be encouraged to continue with self-selected exercises as tolerated. All participants will complete 6-7 one-to-one sessions with a physical therapist to progress exercises in a standardized manner over 8 weeks. During the last 4 weeks of the intervention, participants will be encouraged to maintain their home exercise program. Participants will be randomized to 1 of 2 types of education (pain education or pathoanatomic), in addition to exercise. Pain education will focus on the biological and psychological mechanisms of pain within a biopsychosocial framing of AT. Pathoanatomic education will focus on biological processes within a more traditional biomedical framework of AT. Evaluation sessions will be completed at baseline and 8-week follow-up, and self-reported outcome measures will be completed at the 12-week follow-up. Both groups will complete progressive Achilles loading exercises in 4 phases throughout the 12 weeks and will be encouraged to continue with self-selected exercises as tolerated. Primary outcomes are movement-evoked pain during heel raises and self-reported function (patient-reported outcome measure information system-Physical Function). Secondary outcomes assess central nervous system nociceptive processing, psychological factors, motor function, and feasibility. Results: Institutional review board approval was obtained on April 15, 2019, and study funding began in July 2019. As of March 2020, we randomized 23 out of 66 participants. In September 2020, we screened 267 individuals, consented 68 participants, and randomized 51 participants. We anticipate completing the primary data analysis by March 2022. Conclusions: The TEAch study will evaluate the utility of pain education for those with AT and the effects of improved patient knowledge on pain, physical function, and clinical outcomes.


Research reported in the publication was supported by the National Institute of Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under award number R00AR071517 and by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the NIH under award number UL1TR002537. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.


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JMIR Research Protocols





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19p. (p. 1-19)


JMIR Publications



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