Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 1345–1355 | Cite as

Treatment for insertional Achilles tendinopathy: a systematic review

  • J. I. WiegerinckEmail author
  • G. M. Kerkhoffs
  • M. N. van Sterkenburg
  • I. N. Sierevelt
  • C. N. van Dijk



Systematically search and analyse the results of surgical and non-surgical treatments for insertional Achilles tendinopathy.


A structured systematic review of the literature was performed to identify surgical and non-surgical therapeutic studies reporting on ten or more adults with insertional Achilles tendinopathy. MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE (Classic) and the Cochrane database of controlled trials (1945–March 2011) were searched. The Coleman methodology score was used to assess the quality of included articles, and these were analysed with an emphasis on change in pain score, patient satisfaction and complication rate.


Of 451 reviewed abstracts, 14 trials met our inclusion criteria evaluating 452 procedures in 433 patients. Five surgical techniques were evaluated; all had a good patient satisfaction (avg. 89 %). The complication ratio differed substantially between techniques. Two studies analysed injections showing significant decrease in visual analogue scale (VAS). Eccentric exercises showed a significant decrease in VAS, but a large group of patients was unsatisfied. Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) was superior to both wait-and-see and an eccentric training regime. One study evaluated laser CO2, TECAR and cryoultrasound, all with significant decrease in VAS.


Despite differences in outcome and complication ratio, the patient satisfaction is high in all surgical studies. It is not possible to draw conclusions regarding the best surgical treatment for insertional Achilles tendinopathy. ESWT seems effective in patients with non-calcified insertional Achilles tendinopathy. Although both eccentric exercises resulted in a decrease in VAS score, full range of motion eccentric exercises shows a low patient satisfaction compared to floor level exercises and other conservative treatment modalities.

Level of evidence



Achilles Insertion Tendinopathy Treatment Systematic review 


Conflict of interest

No financial or material support was received.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. I. Wiegerinck
    • 1
    Email author
  • G. M. Kerkhoffs
    • 1
  • M. N. van Sterkenburg
    • 1
  • I. N. Sierevelt
    • 1
  • C. N. van Dijk
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Academic Medical CenterUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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