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

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Tumilty, S, Munn, J, Abbott, JH, McDonough, S, Hurley, DA, Basford, JR & Baxter, GD 2010, 'Laser therapy in the treatment of achilles tendinopathy: a randomised controlled trial', AIP Conference Proceedings, vol. 1226, pp. 163-169.


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.

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