Laser therapy in the treatment of achilles tendinopathy: a pilot study.

a medical image of the human body with a bluck background, highlighting the achilles tendon in orange

by Steve Tumilty, Joanne Munn, J Haxby Abbott, Suzanne McDonough, Deirdre A Hurley, G David Baxter

Objective: To test the feasibility of a randomized controlled trial to assess the clinical effectiveness of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) when used in addition to eccentric exercise in the management of Achilles tendinopathy.

Background data: LLLT has emerged as a possible treatment modality for tendon injuries. Over the past 20 years only three human studies have investigated LLLT for Achilles tendinopathy.

Results: Within groups, there were significant improvements (p < 0.05) at 4 and 12 wk for all outcome measures, except eccentric strength for the placebo group at 4 wk (p = 0.11). Based on the results of the current study, recruitment of 20 subjects per group would be required to perform an adequately powered study based on minimally important clinical differences in VISA-A scale.

Conclusion: This study has demonstrated the feasibility of undertaking a randomized controlled trial of LLLT for Achilles tendinopathy. Conclusions regarding effectiveness cannot be made due to the low statistical power of this pilot study.

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