Periostitis in the lower leg caused by overexercise is a ubiquitous problem amongst athletes and runners. The purpose of this study was to observe the functional improvement of the lower limbs upon rehabilitation low-level laser therapy (LLLT). All medical data were gathered from enrolled adults with sports-related lower leg pain. In all, 54 patients underwent triple-phase bone scans using skeletal nuclear scintigraphy, which confirmed periostitis in their lower limbs. The patients were then randomly divided into two groups: one group received laser therapy (N = 29) and the other group (N = 25) received an equivalent placebo treatment (a drug or physical therapy). Treatment protocol began with rehabilitation intervention and LLLT was performed three times daily for 5 days at a dosage of 1.4 J/cm2. A Likert-type pain scale was used to evaluate the severity of pain. Balance function, including postural stability testing (PST) and limits of stability (LOS), was also performed to evaluate the function outcome. Patients experienced a significant improvement in pain by day 2 or day 5 after starting LLLT, but there was no significant difference in pain scale between the measurements prior to (baseline) and following LLLT. Comparing the PST, the group differences of dynamic vs. static testings ranged from -18.54 to -50.22 (compared 12, 8, 4, 3, 2, 1 to 0, all p < 0.0001), and the PST after LLLT were 3.73 units (p = 0.0258) lower than those of before LLLT. Comparing the LOS, the group differences of dynamic vs. static testing were similar to those in PST, and the relationship between LOS and groups only varied with the direction control during dynamic testing in direction at backward/right vs. right (p < 0.0001).
LLLT had a beneficial effect on proprioception in patients with lower limb periostitis. Larger, better controlled studies are required to determine what specific effects LLLT has on the function of proprioception.