Analgesia due to isometric exercise in patellar tendon pain
A 4 week knee isometric exercise protocol produced greater immediate analgesia and improvements in VISA-P at 4 weeks in a sample of in-season athletes with patellar tendinopathy (PT), when compared to isotonic exercise. Although both programs produced improvements, the greater benefits of the isometric protocol may allow in-season athletes to tolerate greater workloads.
PT is a common and debilitating condition. Although athletes frequently continue participating, they often reduce training load to manage symptoms. Loading the tendon through exercise has been shown to be the only intervention that promotes positive changes in tendon matrix. Despite this, few studies have looked at how to promote immediate analgesia, which is important to increase adherence and allow for full participation.
In this randomized clinical trial, 20 in-season athletes with PT were allocated to either a 4 week isometric or isotonic resistance exercise protocol performed 4 times a week. At baseline, VISA-P scores, maximum voluntary isometric contraction (isometric group) and eight repetition maximum (isotonic group) were determined. Both programs had equivalent total workload. Subjects recorded the level of pain during a single leg decline squat each session. Pain level log and VISA-P scores were obtained at 4 weeks.
The isometric group showed a greater reduction in pain and better VISA-P scores at 4 weeks. This indicates isometric training may be efficient in managing PT in-season, allowing athletes to keep training and competing closer to their best.
> From: Rio et al., Clin J Sports Med 27 (2017) 253-259. All rights reserved to Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Click here for the online summary.