IMPROVED PRESSURE PAIN THRESHOLDS AND FUNCTION FOLLOWING NOXIOUS ELECTRICAL STIMULATION ON A RUNNER WITH CHRONIC ACHILLES TENDINOPATHY: A CASE REPORT

Abstract

Background and Purpose

Achilles tendinopathy is a common overuse injury sustained by athletes including runners. The use of noxious electrical stimulation for the treatment of chronic tendinopathies is a novel treatment intervention, which may alter pain perception and serve as adjunct technique in the recovery of painfree function. The purpose of this case report is to demonstrate the use of noxious electrical stimulation for the treatment of chronic, bilateral Achilles tendinopathy that was resistant to conservative treatment using plantarflexor eccentric exercise.

Case Description

A 27‐year old male runner was referred to physical therapy with a 7‐year history of bilateral Achilles tendinopathy. He scored a 73/80 on the Lower Extremity Functional Scale (LEFS) and a 64% on the Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment‐Achilles (VISA‐A). Pain pressure threshold testing of the Achilles tendon was performed, followed by a single session of noxious electric stimulation to bilateral Achilles tendons, and the subject was instructed to continue with eccentric gastroc‐soleus complex strengthening as previously performed.

Outcomes

Pain pressure threshold testing was performed to the mid‐portion of the posterior Achilles tendon. The left Achilles tendon mean was 10.50kg and right Achilles tendon was 8.33kg prior to the noxious stimulation intervention. Twenty‐four hours after the noxious stimulation treatment, improvements in mean pain threshold testing were found for both the left (16.31kg) and right (12.36kg) Achilles tendons. At one month after the physical therapy noxious stimulation session, the subject was able to progress his workouts to include sprints and interval training. His LEFS improved to 76/80 and his VISA‐A improved to 96%.

Discussion

The case illustrates the successful pain reduction and return to progressive sports activity in a runner with chronic Achilles tendinopathy. The utilization of noxious electric stimulation may have altered the pain perception of the nervous system as evidenced by the improvement in pain pressure threshold testing. Future studies on the application of noxious electric stimulation on chronic Achilles tendinopathy may help support the benefit of this intervention on pain and function.

Level of Evidence

Therapy, Level 4.

Keywords: Achilles tendinopathy, noxious electrical stimulation, pain, running


Autor / Fonte:Brian J Eckenrode, Scott K Stackhouse International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy 2015, 10 (3): 354-62
Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4458923/pdf/ijspt-06-354.pdf