Low power laser treatment in patients with knee osteoarthritis

Swiss Med Wkly. 2004 May 1;134(17-18):254-8.


The aim of this study was to investigate the analgesic efficacy of low power laser therapy in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA). The study design was randomised, placebo-controlled and single blinded. Sixty patients with knee OA according to the American College of Rheumatology criteria were included and randomly assigned to three treatment groups: active laser with dosage of 3 J/per painful point, active laser with a dosage of 1.5/J per painful point and placebo laser treatment groups. A Gal-Al-As diode laser device was used as a source of low power laser with a power output of 50 mW and a wavelength of 830 nm. The patients were treated 5 times weekly with 10 treatments in all. The clinical assessments included Western Ontario and McMaster Universities osteoarthritis index (WOMAC) pain, stiffness and physical function subscales. In addition, the intensity of pain at rest and on activation was evaluated on a visual analogue scale. Compared to baseline, at week 3 and at month 6, no significant improvement was observed within the groups. Similarly, no significant differences were found among the treatment groups at any time. With the chosen laser type and dose regimen the results that we obtained in this study, suggest that low-level laser therapy has no effect on pain in patients with knee OA.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / radiotherapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method