The purpose of this study was to compare an established protocol of modalities and transverse friction massage (MOD & TFM) with iontophoresis of dexamethasone and lidocaine (IONTO) in the treatment of patients with infrapatellar tendinitis. Thirty cases with infrapatellar tendinitis were randomly assigned to either the MOD & TFM or the IONTO intervention. Subjects still symptomatic after six sessions of intervention received the alternate treatment protocol. Four measures were used to assess patient status: a functional index questionnaire, a visual analog pain scale, a rating of tenderness with palpation of the involved tendon, and the number of step-ups needed to elicit pain. In response to the MOD & TFM intervention, only the number of step-ups performed to elicit pain showed significant improvement. All status measures improved significantly with the IONTO intervention. The results suggest that iontophoresis may be more effective and efficient in decreasing pain, reducing inflammation, and promoting healing in patients with infrapatellar tendinitis.
The authors are with Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Associates. Geraldine L. Pellecchia, 150 Poquonock Ave., Windsor, CT 06095. Holly Hamel, 255 N. Main St., Bristol, CT 06010. Peter Behnke, 225 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury, CT 06089. Geraldine L. Pellecchia is also a doctoral student with the University of Connecticut Sports Biomechanics Program.