A Comparative Study of Treatment Interventions for Patellar Tendinopathy: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Published:February 05, 2021DOI:



      To determine the additional effect of dry needling (DN) or percutaneous needle electrolysis (PNE) combined with eccentric exercise (EE) and determine which is the most effective for patients with patellar tendinopathy (PT).


      Blinded, randomized controlled trial, with follow-up at 10 and 22 weeks.


      Recruitment was performed in sport clubs. Diagnosis and intervention were conducted at San Jorge University.


      Patients (N=48) with PT with pain for at least 3 months between the ages of 18 and 45 years.


      Three interventions were carried out: DN and EE, PNE and EE, and EE with sham needle as the control group.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Disability was measured using the Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment Questionnaire, patellar tendon. Visual analog scale was used to measure pain over time, the Short Form-36 was used to measure quality of life, and ultrasound was used to measure structural abnormalities.


      A total of 48 participants (42 men, 6 women; average age, 32.46y; SD, 7.14y) were enrolled. The improvement in disability and pain in each group between baseline and post-treatment and baseline and follow-up was significant (P≤.05), without differences among groups.


      DN or PNE combined with an EE program has not shown to be more effective than a program of only EE to improve disability and pain in patients with PT in the short (10wk) and medium (22wk) terms. Clinical improvements were not associated with structural changes in the tendon.


      List of abbreviations:

      CD-US (color Doppler ultrasound), CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials), DN (dry needling), EE (eccentric exercise), ICON (International Consensus), PNE (percutaneous needle electrolysis), PRP (plasm-rich platelet), PT (patellar tendinopathy), QOL (quality of life), RCT (randomized controlled trial), SF-36 (Short Form-36 Health Survey), US (ultrasound), VAS (visual analog scale), VISA-p (Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment Questionnaire, patellar tendon)
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