BMJ Open. 2022 Sep 28;12(9):e059479. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-059479.
OBJECTIVES: We investigated the effectiveness of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) in lower extremity tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis on patient-reported pain and disability.
DESIGN: Systematic review and meta-analysis.
DATA SOURCES: Eligible articles in any language were identified through PubMed, Embase and Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) on the 20 August 2020, references, citations and experts.
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR SELECTION OF STUDIES: Only randomised controlled trials involving participants with lower extremity tendinopathy or plantar fasciitis treated with LLLT were included.
DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: Random effects meta-analyses with dose subgroups based on the World Association for Laser Therapy treatment recommendations were conducted. Risk of bias was assessed with the PEDro scale.
RESULTS: LLLT was compared with placebo (10 trials), other interventions (5 trials) and as an add-on intervention (3 trials). The study quality was moderate to high.Overall, pain was significantly reduced by LLLT at completed therapy (13.15 mm Visual Analogue Scale (VAS; 95% CI 7.82 to 18.48)) and 4-12 weeks later (12.56 mm VAS (95% CI 5.69 to 19.42)). Overall, disability was significantly reduced by LLLT at completed therapy (Standardised Mean Difference (SMD)=0.39 (95% CI 0.09 to 0.7) and 4-9 weeks later (SMD=0.32 (95% CI 0.05 to 0.59)). Compared with placebo control, the recommended doses significantly reduced pain at completed therapy (14.98 mm VAS (95% CI 3.74 to 26.22)) and 4-8 weeks later (14.00 mm VAS (95% CI 2.81 to 25.19)). The recommended doses significantly reduced pain as an add-on to exercise therapy versus exercise therapy alone at completed therapy (18.15 mm VAS (95% CI 10.55 to 25.76)) and 4-9 weeks later (15.90 mm VAS (95% CI 2.3 to 29.51)). No adverse events were reported.
CONCLUSION: LLLT significantly reduces pain and disability in lower extremity tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis in the short and medium term. Long-term data were not available. Some uncertainty about the effect size remains due to wide CIs and lack of large trials.
PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42017077511.
PMID:36171024 | DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2021-059479