Effectiveness of Diathermy in Comparison With Ultrasound or Corticosteroids in Patients With Tendinopathy: A Critically Appraised Topic

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Philip A. Szlosek
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John Taggart
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Julie M. Cavallario
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Johanna M. Hoch
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Clinical Scenario:

Many therapeutic modalities have been used to treat the pain and inflammation commonly associated with tendinopathies. One modality that has been used to treat patients with tendinopathies is diathermy.

Focused Clinical Question:

Is there evidence to suggest that diathermy is more or equally as effective at reducing pain in patients with tendinopathy when compared with ultrasound or corticosteroid treatments?

Summary of Search, “Best Evidence” Appraised, and Key Findings:

The literature was searched for randomized control trials (RCTs) that investigated the effects of diathermy treatments in comparison with ultrasound or corticosteroid treatments on pain in patients with tendinopathy. Three RCTs were selected from the search results and included in this critically appraised topic.

Clinical Bottom Line:

There is moderate evidence to support that diathermy is more effective at reducing pain in patients with tendinopathy than ultrasound and equally as effective as corticosteroid treatments.

Strength of Recommendation:

There is grade B evidence to support that diathermy is more effective at reducing pain in patients with tendinopathy than ultrasound and equally effective at reducing pain as corticosteroid treatments.

Szlosek and Taggart are with the Post-Professional Athletic Training Program; Cavallario, the Dept of Human Movement Sciences; and Hoch, the School of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA. Address author correspondence to Julie Cavallario at Jcavalla@odu.edu.

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