The objective of this study was to determine whether the addition of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) to eccentric exercise (EE) may cause more rapid clinical improvement. 52 recreational athletes with chronic Achilles tendinopathy symptoms were randomized to groups receiving either EE + LLLT or EE + placebo LLLT over 8 weeks in a blinded manner. Low-level laser therapy ( = 820 nm) was administered in 12 sessions by irradiating 6 points along the Achilles tendon with a power density of 60 mW/cm2 and a total dose of 5.4 J per session. Pain intensity during physical activity on the 100-mm visual analog scale was significantly lower in the LLLT group than in the placebo LLLT group. Secondary outcomes of morning stiffness, active dorsiflexion, palpation tenderness, and crepitation showed the same pattern in favor of the LLLT group.
Low-level laser therapy, with the parameters used in this study, accelerates clinical recovery from chronic Achilles tendinopathy when added to an EE regimen.
The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2008, 36, 881-887