Pilot study: the effect of high intensity laser therapy in treatment of patients with plantar fasciitis


Dovilė Naruševičiūtė1, Raimondas Kubilius1

1Rehabilitation department, The Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania


Introduction: Plantar heel pain is one of the most common causes of foot pain.

Aim: To evaluate the efficacy of high-intensity laser therapy (HILT) in patients with plantar fasciitis.

Methods: 22 patients participated in the research. In two weeks they received 6 HILT procedures (3 times per week) and were taught to perform specific exercises at home. Before and after the treatment, the patients were evaluated using the VAS, goniometry, algometry, and ultrasonography. The healthy foot was used as a control.

Results: A significant reduction in pain was observed statistically and clinically (> 1.0 cm or > 15%) when comparing VAS before and after treatment. Pain with the first steps in the morning decreased statistically significantly from 7.6 ± 2.91 cm to 4.44 ± 3.21 cm. The difference in pain threshold between the affected and healthy legs was statistically significantly reduced from 4.76 ± 3.58 kg / cm2 to 2.20 ± 2.11 kg / cm2. According to goniometry of affected leg, plantar flexion of ankle joint increased by 4.77 ± 9.57 º (p = 0.04), dorsal flexion by 3.64 ± 7.27 º (p = 0.03), and first metatarsopharyngeal joint plantar flexion increased by 3.00 ± 8.06 ° (p = 0.012), dorsal flexion – 6.59 ± 8.06 ° (p = 0.001). The difference in plantar thickness between the healthy and damaged legs after treatment was reduced from 1.84 mm to 1.32 mm (p = 0.016).

Conclusions: HILT combined with specific exercises at home effectively reduces heel pain and improves foot function in patients with plantar fasciitis.

Keywords: High-intensity laser therapy, HILT, low level laser therapy, LLLT, plantar fasciitis, plantar heel pain, plantar spur