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Effects of a therapeutic laser and passive stretching program for treating tendon overuse.

AbstractOBJECTIVE:
This study investigated the effects of a therapeutic laser, passive stretching, and their combined treatment on the strength of Achilles tendons with overuse pathologies.
BACKGROUND DATA:
Tendinopathy involving overuse is usually treated with exercise and stretching, but there has been no report on the treatment effect of a therapeutic laser combined with passive stretching on managing this condition. Despite the beneficial effect of a therapeutic laser on healing tendons that have had traumatic injury, its effect on degenerative tendons is not known.
METHODS:
Twenty-five mature Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were used, with 20 subjected to daily bipedal downhill running for 8 weeks, to induce Achilles overuse, and 5 as normal controls. The exercised rats were divided into four groups: 1, laser treatment; 2, passive stretching; 3, combined laser and stretching; and 4, no treatment, running controls. GaAlAs laser with 660 nm wavelength was applied to both Achilles tendons for 50 sec for Groups 1 and 3. Passive stretching of 20 times/10 sec of maximum ankle plantar flexion was applied to Groups 2 and 3. Treatments were applied after each running session for a a total of 56 treatment sessions. On week 9, the tendons were tested for load-relaxation, stiffness, and ultimate strength.
RESULTS:
Stiffness was different (p=0.01), difference in ultimate strength was marginally insignificant (p=0.07), and load-relaxation difference was not significant among groups. Post-hoc analyses revealed that the mean stiffness of all the four exercise groups was lower than the normal control, whereas the ultimate strength from the laser and combined laser and stretching was not different from that of the normal control group, but was higher than that of the passive stretching and no treatment groups.
CONCLUSIONS:
We conclude that a therapeutic laser and combined laser with passive stretching might slow down the decrease in Achilles tendon strength but would not be able to stop the pathological changes of overuse from developing.
AuthorsGabriel Y F Ng, Polly Y M Chung
JournalPhotomedicine and laser surgery (Photomed Laser Surg) Vol. 30 Issue 3 Pg. 155-9 (Mar 2012) ISSN: 1557-8550 [Electronic] United States
PMID22235970 (Publication Type: Comparative Study, Journal Article)
Topics
  • Achilles Tendon (injuries)
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders (rehabilitation)
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Low-Level Light Therapy (methods)
  • Muscle Stretching Exercises (methods)
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Recovery of Function
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors
  • Tendinopathy (rehabilitation)
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome

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