Department of Physical Therapy Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Physical Therapy

Copyright Statement

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College of Health Care Sciences - Physical Therapy Department

First Advisor

Josh Cleland

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Background: The effect of trigger point dry needling (TDN) on myofascial trigger points (MTP) in Achilles tendinopathy are unknown. Objectives: To determine the feasibility of a large randomized controlled trial (RCT) to compare the effects of TDN to exercise in a patient population with Achilles tendinopathy. Methods: This single-factor, pretest-posttest control group design included 22 subjects between the ages of 24 and 65 years with Achilles tendinopathy. Subjects were randomly assigned to either a control group (MT+Ex) or experimental group (TDN+MT+Ex). Subjects in both groups completed 8 physical therapy treatment sessions over 4 weeks. The intervention for the TDN+MT+Ex group included TDN to MTPs in the gastrocnemius, soleus or tibialis posterior each session while the same soft tissue mobilization and exercise program was conducted in both groups. Results: Within group analysis was performed for each group at 4 week and 90 day follow up. Significant improvement (p < .05) was achieved for FAAM, NPRS, pain pressure threshold and strength in both groups at 4 weeks and 90 days. The GROC was significant for MT + Ex at 90 days. The MCID for the FAAM, GROC were surpassed in both groups at 4 weeks and 90 days. NPRS surpassed the MCID for the MT + Ex group at 4 weeks. Conclusion: A large RCT to investigate the effects of TDN on MTP in Achilles tendinopathy is feasible with modifications. Recommendations: Special considerations for data collection sites should be given to the health care system, insurance payor, and financial burden to subjects.


Physical Therapy


Health and environmental sciences, Achilles, Dry needling, Tendinopathy, Trigger point

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