J Sport Rehabil. 2022 May 4:1-7. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2021-0200. Online ahead of print.
CONTEXT: Approximately 70,000 Americans miss work annually due to tendinopathies causing pain, disability, and lower quality of life. Various conservative treatments have been demonstrated to improve outcomes in these conditions. Dry needling (DN) and therapeutic exercise are 2 such interventions that have been proposed to be a positive intervention for addressing tendinopathy.
OBJECTIVE: To summarize the best available evidence on the use of DN and exercise combined to treat tendinopathy.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: PubMed, EBSCOHost, and Web of Science were systematically searched from inception to March 2021. Articles were assessed to determine eligibility and evaluated for methodological quality using the PEDro scale. The PRISMA guidelines were used for this review. Inclusion criteria consisted of use of DN in combination with therapeutic exercise, human participants, and active tendinopathy pathology.
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Seven studies met the inclusion and exclusion criteria, which averaged 6/11 on the PEDro scale. The level of agreement of evaluators was 94%. Current evidence supports the use of DN combined with therapeutic exercises, especially those including eccentric exercises, can improve pain and function for various tendinopathies. However, limited evidence exists regarding specific therapeutic interventions to be combined with DN.
CONCLUSION: There is moderate, level B evidence to suggest the use of DN techniques targeted at the tendon and combined with eccentric therapeutic exercise to improve pain and functional outcomes for tendinopathies.