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Papers: 10 Sep 2022 - 16 Sep 2022


2022 Jun 17


The effects of pain science education plus exercise on pain and function in chronic Achilles tendinopathy: a blinded, placebo-controlled, explanatory, randomized trial.


Chimenti RL, Post AA, Rio EK, Moseley LG, Dao M, Mosby H, Hall M, de Cesar Netto C, Wilken JM, Danielson J, Bayman EO, Sluka KA
Pain. 2022 Jun 17.
PMID: 36095045.


Exercise is the standard of care for Achilles tendinopathy (AT), but 20% to 50% of patients continue to have pain following rehabilitation. The addition of pain science education (PSE) to an exercise program may enhance clinical outcomes, yet this has not been examined in patients with AT. Furthermore, little is known about how rehabilitation for AT alters the fear of movement and central nervous system nociceptive processing. Participants with chronic AT (N = 66) were randomized to receive education about AT either from a biopsychosocial (PSE) or from a biomedical (pathoanatomical education [PAE]) perspective. Simultaneously, all participants completed an exercise program over 8 weeks. Linear mixed models indicated that there were no differences between groups in (1) movement-evoked pain with both groups achieving a clinically meaningful reduction (mean change [95% CI], PSE: -3.0 [-3.8 to -2.2], PAE = -3.6 [-4.4 to -2.8]) and (2) self-reported function, with neither group achieving a clinically meaningful improvement (Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Physical Function-PSE: 1.8 [0.3-3.4], PAE: 2.5 [0.8-4.2]). After rehabilitation, performance-based function improved (number of heel raises: 5.2 [1.6-8.8]), central nervous system nociceptive processing remained the same (conditioned pain modulation: -11.4% [0.2 to -17.3]), and fear of movement decreased (Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia, TSK-17: -6.5 [-4.4 to -8.6]). Linear regression models indicated that baseline levels of pain and function along with improvements in self-efficacy and knowledge gain were associated with a greater improvement in pain and function, respectively. Thus, acquiring skills for symptom self-management and the process of learning may be more important than the specific educational approach for short-term clinical outcomes in patients with AT.