Immediate and short-term effects of in-shoe heel-lift orthoses on clinical and biomechanical outcomes in patients with insertional Achilles tendinopathy

Review written by Dr Melinda Smith info

Key Points

  1. This case series investigated immediate (following fitting) and short-term (2-weeks wear) effects of heel lifts in people with insertional Achilles tendinopathy.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Heel lifts are commonly prescribed in management of individuals with Achilles tendinopathy with the intention to improve symptoms by reducing tendon strain and compression by reducing ankle dorsiflexion (1-3). Although heel lifts have been reported to improve symptoms and quality of life after 2-weeks of wear in individuals with mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy (4), their effect in individuals with insertional Achilles tendinopathy is not understood.

The aim of this study was to determine the immediate and short-term effects of heel lifts on clinical and gait outcomes in people with insertional Achilles tendinopathy.

Heel lifts are commonly prescribed in management of individuals with Achilles tendinopathy with the intention to improve symptoms by reducing tendon strain and compression.
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Positive immediate and short-term effects with little risk of adverse events provides preliminary support for heel lifts as part of the conservative management of patients with insertional Achilles tendinopathy.

METHODS

This prospective case series recruited participants with a clinical diagnosis of insertional Achilles tendinopathy who had a gait impairment (see Table 1). The more symptomatic side was included where symptoms were bilateral.

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