Laser therapy in the treatment of achilles tendinopathy: a randomised controlled trial

Steve Tumilty, University of Otago
Joanne Munn, University of Otago
J Haxby Abbott, University of Otago
Suzanne McDonough, University of Ulster
Deidre A. Hurley, University College Dublin
Jeffrey R. Basford, The Mayo Clinic
G David Baxter, University of Otago

Document Type Article

Abstract

Background: Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) has emerged as a possible treatment modality for tendinopathies. Human studies have investigated LLLT for Achilles Tendinopathy and the effectiveness remains contentious.

Purpose: To assess the clinical effectiveness of Low‐Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) in the management of Achilles Tendinopathy.

Method: Forty patients were randomised into an active laser or placebo group; all patients, therapists and investigator were blinded to allocation. All patients were given an eccentric exercise program and irradiated 3 times per week for 4 weeks with either an active or placebo laser at 6 standardized points over the affected tendons. Irradiation parameters in the active laser group were: 810 nm, 100 mW, applied to 6 points on the tendon for 30 seconds giving a dose of 3 J per point and 18 J per session; power density 100 mW/cm2. Outcome measures were the VISA‐A questionnaire and a visual analogue scale of pain. Patients were measured before treatment, at 4 and 12 weeks. ANCOVA was used to analyze data, using the effects of baseline measurements as a covariate.

Results: Within groups, there were significant improvements (p0.05).

Conclusion: This use of the above parameters demonstrated no added benefit of LLLT over that of eccentric exercise in the treatment of Achilles Tendinopathy.