Do people with unilateral mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy who participate in running-related physical activity exhibit a meaningful conditioned pain modulation (CPM) effect: a pilot study
Our primary objective was to report the presence of a conditioned pain modulation (CPM) effect in people with localised mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy and whether changes occur over a 12-week period. Our secondary objectives were to quantify the proportion of participants who present for tendinopathy research with previous interventions or co-morbidities, which may impact the CPM-effect and investigate modulating factors.
Prospective, observational cohort pilot study.
215 participants presented for this Achilles tendinopathy research and were screened for inclusion with nine being included. Included participants had the CPM-effect (cold-pressor test) assessed using pressure pain thresholds at the Achilles tendon and quantified as absolute, relative and meaningful change at baseline and 12-week follow-up.
The most common reasons for exclusion were failure to meet a load-related diagnosis for Achilles tendinopathy (15.5%), presence of confounding other injury (14.1%) and previous injection therapy (13.6%). All participants had a meaningful CPM-effect at baseline and 12-week follow-up. The mean (SD, n) baseline relative CPM effect (reduction in PPTs) was -40.5 (32.7, 9) percent. Moderators of the CPM-effect as well as follow-up changes were not statistically analysed due to a small sample size.
Based on these data, we would suggest that a homogenous population of patients with chronic, unilateral mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy and no other co-morbidities are likely to exhibit a meaningful CPM-effect. Impairments to endogenous analgesic mechanisms seen in people presenting with mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy may be due to other confounding variables.