Achilles Tendinopathy Toolkit: Section E - Low Level Laser Therapy Dosage Calculation
This article is currently under review and may not be up to date. Please come back soon to see the finished work! (16/08/2022)
Introduction[edit | edit source]
Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is a non invasive light source treatment that generates a single wavelength of light. It emits no heat, sound, or vibration and is used to treat various musculoskeletal conditions. It is believed to affect the function of connective tissue cells (fibroblasts), accelerate connective tissue repair and act as an anti-inflammatory agent. Lasers with different wavelengths, varying from 632 to 904 nm, are used in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders.
The World Association of Laser Therapy (WALT) provides dosage guidelines using Joules for various conditions. These
dosage guidelines are based upon the best evidence from the literature in conjunction with expert opinion.
Physical Therapists are encouraged to set LLLT dose according to the WALT guidelines found via this link. (Note that the WALT guidelines are given for surface exposure.)
Low Level Laser Therapy Dosage Calculation[edit | edit source]
Current recommendations specify that LLLT dosage be provided in Joules (J, total energy), rather than the previous
recommended Joules/cm2 (J/cm2, energy density). Use Joules rather than Joules/cm2 to specify how much energy is
delivered in a treatment.
In Laser devices that do not calculate Joules automatically, dose can be determined in seconds of exposure required to give
the desired Joules by using the following calculation:
This change is very important clinically as the use of the previously recommended Joules/cm2 resulted in confusion when
comparing dosages between protocols. The resultant dose in Joules/cm2 could be the consequence of a number of
different treatment options.
This example illustrates that using Joules/cm2 resulted in one patient receiving twice the total amount of energy that is
received by the other patient!
Therefore, all physical therapists using LLLT should be delivering dosages based on Joules rather than Joules/cm2.
Using Joules rather than Joules/cm2 will enable better standardization of dosage and permit comparison across different
Resources[edit | edit source]
- Click to go back to the Main Achilles Tendinopathy Toolkit page
- Click to go back to Section A - Clinical Evaluation
- Click to go back to Section B - Outcome Measures
- Click to go back to Section C - Summary of Evidence and Recommendations for Interventions
- Click to go back to Section D - Exercise Programs
- Click to continue to Section F - Medical and Surgical Interventions
- UBC Achilles Tendinopathy Toolkit
References[edit | edit source]
- Cotler HB, Chow RT, Hamblin MR, Carroll J. The Use of Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) For Musculoskeletal Pain. MOJ Orthop Rheumatol 2015;2(5): 00068
- Bjordal JM. Low level laser therapy (LLLT) and World Association for Laser Therapy (WALT) dosage recommendations. Photomedicine and laser surgery. 2012 Feb 1;30(2):61-2.