A prospective clinical trial to determine the relative effectiveness of cross friction massage versus Graston instrument assisted soft tissue mobilisation in treating patellar tendinopathy
Fraser, Donna Francoise
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There are mechanical loads applied to the patella tendon in almost all sporting activities and as a result is commonly injured (Peterson and Renström, 2003:321). Patellar tendinopathy is a common chronic tendinopathy (Hamilton and Purdman, 2004) and occurs commonly in athletes who impose rapid eccentric loading of the knee extensor mechanism (Norris, 2004:246). Deep Transverse Friction Massage (DTFM) and soft tissue mobilization are the two most common forms of manual therapy used to treat patellar tendinopathy (Rees et al., 2006). DTFM is considered the most effective treatment for patellar tendinopathy (Brunker and Khan, 2002:487). It is theorised that DTFM causes the softening of scar tissue and the breakdown of adhesions, promoting the realignment of disrupted connective tissue fibrils within the affected tendon (Stasinopoulos and Johnson, 2007). Graston Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (GIASTM) consists of a set of stainless steel instruments (Carey 2003:2) and is an advanced form of soft tissue mobilization used in detecting and releasing scar tissue, adhesions and fascial restrictions (Carey, 2003:7). The controlled microtrauma created by these instruments is hypothesised to create a localised inflammatory response (Hammer, 2004) in a similar mechanism to that of DTFM. The aim of this study was to determine the relative effectiveness of GIASTM versus DTFM in treating patellar tendinopathy. The study included a total of twenty-six knees among twenty-one patients. Patients were placed randomly into either the GIASTM group or the DTFM group. Each patient received a total of twelve treatments over a three month period. Algometer and inclinometer readings were recorded at set intervals and compromised objective measures. Two questionnaires and a numerical pain rating scale (NRS) were administered at set intervals and compromised subjective measures. SPSS version 13.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois, USA) was used to analyse the data. Repeated measures ANOVA was used to examine changes in quantitative outcomes over the time points (intragroup analysis) and a treatment effect (intergroup analysis). To control for the partial pairing in the intergroup analysis, a variable which classified each subject as paired (both left and right knee used in study) or non-paired (only used once in study) was used as a factor in the model. Correlations between the intragroup changes in the various outcome variables were assessed using Pearson’s correlation coefficients. Statistical analysis of both objective and subjective data revealed significant improvements for most outcome measures in the study. Findings imply that GIASTM is as effective as DTFM in treating patellar tendinopathy.