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      Revisiting the continuum model of tendon pathology: what is its merit in clinical practice and research?

      review-article

      1 , 2 , 1 , 2 , 2 , 3 , 1 , 2

      British Journal of Sports Medicine

      BMJ Publishing Group

      Tendon

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          Abstract

          The pathogenesis of tendinopathy and the primary biological change in the tendon that precipitates pathology have generated several pathoaetiological models in the literature. The continuum model of tendon pathology, proposed in 2009, synthesised clinical and laboratory-based research to guide treatment choices for the clinical presentations of tendinopathy. While the continuum has been cited extensively in the literature, its clinical utility has yet to be fully elucidated. The continuum model proposed a model for staging tendinopathy based on the changes and distribution of disorganisation within the tendon. However, classifying tendinopathy based on structure in what is primarily a pain condition has been challenged. The interplay between structure, pain and function is not yet fully understood, which has partly contributed to the complex clinical picture of tendinopathy. Here we revisit and assess the merit of the continuum model in the context of new evidence. We (1) summarise new evidence in tendinopathy research in the context of the continuum, (2) discuss tendon pain and the relevance of a model based on structure and (3) describe relevant clinical elements (pain, function and structure) to begin to build a better understanding of the condition. Our goal is that the continuum model may help guide targeted treatments and improved patient outcomes.

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          Most cited references 70

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          Efficacy and safety of corticosteroid injections and other injections for management of tendinopathy: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials.

          Few evidence-based treatment guidelines for tendinopathy exist. We undertook a systematic review of randomised trials to establish clinical efficacy and risk of adverse events for treatment by injection. We searched eight databases without language, publication, or date restrictions. We included randomised trials assessing efficacy of one or more peritendinous injections with placebo or non-surgical interventions for tendinopathy, scoring more than 50% on the modified physiotherapy evidence database scale. We undertook meta-analyses with a random-effects model, and estimated relative risk and standardised mean differences (SMDs). The primary outcome of clinical efficacy was protocol-defined pain score in the short term (4 weeks, range 0-12), intermediate term (26 weeks, 13-26), or long term (52 weeks, ≥52). Adverse events were also reported. 3824 trials were identified and 41 met inclusion criteria, providing data for 2672 participants. We showed consistent findings between many high-quality randomised controlled trials that corticosteroid injections reduced pain in the short term compared with other interventions, but this effect was reversed at intermediate and long terms. For example, in pooled analysis of treatment for lateral epicondylalgia, corticosteroid injection had a large effect (defined as SMD>0·8) on reduction of pain compared with no intervention in the short term (SMD 1·44, 95% CI 1·17-1·71, p<0·0001), but no intervention was favoured at intermediate term (-0·40, -0·67 to -0·14, p<0·003) and long term (-0·31, -0·61 to -0·01, p=0·05). Short-term efficacy of corticosteroid injections for rotator-cuff tendinopathy is not clear. Of 991 participants who received corticosteroid injections in studies that reported adverse events, only one (0·1%) had a serious adverse event (tendon rupture). By comparison with placebo, reductions in pain were reported after injections of sodium hyaluronate (short [3·91, 3·54-4·28, p<0·0001], intermediate [2·89, 2·58-3·20, p<0·0001], and long [3·91, 3·55-4·28, p<0·0001] terms), botulinum toxin (short term [1·23, 0·67-1·78, p<0·0001]), and prolotherapy (intermediate term [2·62, 1·36-3·88, p<0·0001]) for treatment of lateral epicondylalgia. Lauromacrogol (polidocanol), aprotinin, and platelet-rich plasma were not more efficacious than was placebo for Achilles tendinopathy, while prolotherapy was not more effective than was eccentric exercise. Despite the effectiveness of corticosteroid injections in the short term, non-corticosteroid injections might be of benefit for long-term treatment of lateral epicondylalgia. However, response to injection should not be generalised because of variation in effect between sites of tendinopathy. None. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Coordinated collagen and muscle protein synthesis in human patella tendon and quadriceps muscle after exercise.

            We hypothesized that an acute bout of strenuous, non-damaging exercise would increase rates of protein synthesis of collagen in tendon and skeletal muscle but these would be less than those of muscle myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic proteins. Two groups (n = 8 and 6) of healthy young men were studied over 72 h after 1 h of one-legged kicking exercise at 67% of maximum workload (W(max)). To label tissue proteins in muscle and tendon primed, constant infusions of [1-(13)C]leucine or [1-(13)C]valine and flooding doses of [(15)N] or [(13)C]proline were given intravenously, with estimation of labelling in target proteins by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Patellar tendon and quadriceps biopsies were taken in exercised and rested legs at 6, 24, 42 or 48 and 72 h after exercise. The fractional synthetic rates of all proteins were elevated at 6 h and rose rapidly to peak at 24 h post exercise (tendon collagen (0.077% h(-1)), muscle collagen (0.054% h(-1)), myofibrillar protein (0.121% h(-1)), and sarcoplasmic protein (0.134% h(-1))). The rates decreased toward basal values by 72 h although rates of tendon collagen and myofibrillar protein synthesis remained elevated. There was no tissue damage of muscle visible on histological evaluation. Neither tissue microdialysate nor serum concentrations of IGF-I and IGF binding proteins (IGFBP-3 and IGFBP-4) or procollagen type I N-terminal propeptide changed from resting values. Thus, there is a rapid increase in collagen synthesis after strenuous exercise in human tendon and muscle. The similar time course of changes of protein synthetic rates in different cell types supports the idea of coordinated musculotendinous adaptation.
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              Pathogenesis of tendinopathies: inflammation or degeneration?

              The intrinsic pathogenetic mechanisms of tendinopathies are largely unknown and whether inflammation or degeneration has the prominent role is still a matter of debate. Assuming that there is a continuum from physiology to pathology, overuse may be considered as the initial disease factor; in this context, microruptures of tendon fibers occur and several molecules are expressed, some of which promote the healing process, while others, including inflammatory cytokines, act as disease mediators. Neural in-growth that accompanies the neovessels explains the occurrence of pain and triggers neurogenic-mediated inflammation. It is conceivable that inflammation and degeneration are not mutually exclusive, but work together in the pathogenesis of tendinopathies.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Br J Sports Med
                Br J Sports Med
                bjsports
                bjsm
                British Journal of Sports Medicine
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                0306-3674
                1473-0480
                October 2016
                28 April 2016
                : 50
                : 19
                : 1187-1191
                Affiliations
                [1 ]School of Allied Health, La Trobe University , Bundoora, Australia
                [2 ]Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention, Federation University
                [3 ]Department of Physical Therapies, Australian Institute of Sport , Bruce, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Dr JL Cook, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia; J.Cook@ 123456latrobe.edu.au
                Article
                bjsports-2015-095422
                10.1136/bjsports-2015-095422
                5118437
                27127294
                d59d7b2d-3561-48b6-9c8a-d0fdd0577485
                Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://www.bmj.com/company/products-services/rights-and-licensing/

                This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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