Acupuncture for chronic Achilles tendinopathy: a randomized controlled study.
Acupuncture has been clinically shown to reduce pain in patients with tendon inflammation (tendinopathy). A study by Zhang BM et al. published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine on December 19, 2013 took sixty-four randomized patients between the ages of 18 to 70, inclusive, with chronic Achilles tendinopathy and placed them into two groups: an acupuncture treatment group and an eccentric exercises group (control group). Patients in the study were treated from July 2007 to April 2010. These patients were given the standard Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment-Achilles (VISA-A) questionnaire to fill out at zero, eight, sixteen, and twenty-four weeks during treatment, with higher scores showing less pain and more improvement in the Achilles tendon area.
Based on the responses given on the questionnaire and visual assessment zero and eight weeks during treatment, the average scores for the VISA-A improved to 67.1 points in the acupuncture treatment group eight weeks after initial treatment, compared to 48.5 points for the control group- an 18.6 point increase in favor of acupuncture. In addition, patients who received acupuncture improved by 25.8 points after sixteen weeks and 28.4 points after twenty-four weeks, compared to a smaller increase of 10.0 points after sixteen weeks and 16.6 points after twenty-four weeks for the control group.
These results ultimately show that the use of acupuncture could potentially improve the amount of pain experienced, as well as activity levels in patients with chronic Achilles tendinopathy.