The use of eccentric exercises and topical glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) in the treatment of midportion Achilles tendinopathy: A randomised placebo controlled trial

Pain in the Achilles tendon is a common condition seen by physiotherapist and doctors. It affects people involved in sports and those who are not. For those who suffer with this condition, it can limit their ability to walk, hop, jump and run. If the pain persists for longer than three months it can become extremely difficult to abolish. As a result, people with this common condition can suffer from prolonged pain, have a poor prognosis, and often the pain will persist.While this is an easy injury to diagnose, it is not so easy to treat. Many treatments do exist, but often just provide short-term relief until the pain recurs again. Specific exercises, called eccentric exercises, have been shown to be beneficial in treating this condition. The current project will study Achilles tendon pain in Irish adults at Connolly Hospital, Dublin, and will take place from 2015 to 2019. In this study, there are two groups of patients. Both groups will perform an exercise program for 12 weeks. Physiotherapists will instruct them on how to perform the exercises. Each group will be given a patch to place on the sore tendon. This patch will be replaced daily with a new patch. One group will use a patch containing nitroglycerin, the other group will use a patch with no active ingredient. The patients will change the patch daily for six months. The patients will be assessed at the start of the program and after 6, 12 and 24 weeks. Our main question is to see whether this exercise program when combined with a nitroglycerin patch placed directly over the sore tendon can improve the outcomes and recovery time for people who suffer with Achilles tendon pain.

Award Date
15 May 2014
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Mr Paul D Kirwan
Host Institution
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Research Training Fellowships for Healthcare Professionals