Are we asking the right questions to people with Achilles tendinopathy? The best questions to distinguish mild versus severe disability to improve your clinical management

Murphy, M. C., Green, B., Amundarain, I. S., Vos, R.-J. de & Rio, E. K. hys. Ther. Sport 67, 54–60 (2024).

Determine the capacity of individual items on the Tendinopathy Severity Assessment – Achilles (TENDINS-A), Foot and Ankle Outcome Score (FAOS), and Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment – Achilles (VISA-A) to differentiate patients with mild and severe tendon-related disability in order to provide clinicians the best questions when they are consulting patients with Achilles tendinopathy.

Cross-sectional. Participants: Seventy participants with Achilles tendinopathy (61.4% mid-portion only, 31.4% insertional only, 7.2% both). Outcome measures: The discrimination index was determined for each TENDINS-A, FAOS, and VISA-A item to determine if items could discriminate between mild and severe disability. A Guttman analysis for polytomous items was conducted.

All 62 items from the TENDINS-A, FAOS, and VISA-A were ranked with the best items relating to pain with physical tendon loading, time for pain to settle following aggravating activities and time for the tendon to ‘warm-up’ following inactivity.

Pain with loading the Achilles tendon, time for pain to settle following aggravating activity, as well as time taken for the tendon symptoms to subside after prolonged sitting or sleeping are the best questions indicative of the severity of disability in patients with Achilles tendinopathy. These questions can assist clinicians with assessing baseline severity and monitoring treatment response.