Effects of Low-Level laser therapy and eccentric exercises in the treatment of recreational athletes with chronic Achilles Tendinopathy

Stergioulas A, Stergioulas M, Araskog T, Lopes-Martins RAB, Bjordal JM

Eccentric exercises (EEs) are recommended for the treatment of Achilles tendinopathy, but the clinical effect from EE has a slow onset.  A total of 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 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.  The results of the intention-to-treat analysis for the primary outcome, pain intensity during physical activity on the 100-mm visual analog scale, were significantly lower in the LLLT group than in the placebo LLLT group, with 53.6 mm versus 71.5 mm (p=.0003) at 4 weeks, 37.3 mm versus 62.8 mm (P = .0002) at 8 weeks, and 33.0 mm versus 53.0 mm (P - .007) at 12 weeks after randomization.  Secondary outcomes of morning stiffness, active dorsiflexion, palpation tenderness, and crpitation 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.  For the LLLT group, the results at 4 weeks were similar to the placebo LLLT group results after 12 weeks.

Am J. Sports Med.  36, 881-887.
Dr. Alan Shih
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