To evaluate the reporting of eligibility criteria and baseline participant characteristics in randomised controlled trials investigating the effects of exercise interventions in tendinopathy.
Randomised controlled trials investigating the effects of exercise therapy compared to a non-exercising intervention in upper and lower limb tendinopathy were included. Data extraction was categorised into the following domains: participant demographics, tendinopathy descriptors, general health, participant recruitment and eligibility criteria.
The review included the following tendinopathies: Achilles (n = 9), gluteal (n = 2), lateral elbow tendinopathy (n = 15), patellar (n = 3) plantar (n = 3), and rotator cuff (n = 13). Age, sex, duration of symptoms and symptom severity were commonly reported across the review, while prior history of tendinopathy was poorly reported (6/45). Variables such as physical activity level (17/45), sleep (0/45), psychological factors (2/45), medication at baseline (8/45), co morbid health complaints (10/45) and sociodemographic factors (11/45) were poorly reported across the included studies. Substantial variation existed between studies in the specific eligibility criteria used.
The findings of this systematic review demonstrate that participant characteristics are poorly reported in exercise trials in tendinopathy. To improve effectiveness of exercise interventions in tendinopathy, improved reporting of participant characteristics may allow better comparisons and targeted interventions for specific subgroups.