Efficacy of heel lifts versus calf muscle eccentric exercise for mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy (HEALTHY): a randomised trial

Review written by Tom Goom info

Key Points

  1. 100 participants with mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy were recruited for this randomized trial comparing in-shoe heel lifts with eccentric exercises.
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Achilles tendinopathy (AT) is a common and sometimes disabling condition. Progressive rehabilitation is frequently advocated but multiple approaches have been studied and there is currently no clear optimal strategy. In-shoe heel lifts have also been used in AT and are thought to reduce Achilles loading during activity. However, to date, there have been few high quality studies examining their effectiveness.

This randomized trial sought to compare the effectiveness of eccentric exercises and in-shoe heel lifts for reducing pain and improving function for people with mid-portion AT.

Achilles tendinopathy is a common and sometimes disabling condition.
Heel lifts may play a role, but we should consider whether they are likely to help achieve each individual’s functional goals.


100 participants (52 women and 48 men, mean age 46yrs) with mid-portion AT were recruited and randomly allocated to one of two treatment groups:

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