Does addition of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) in conservative care of knee arthritis successfully postpone the need for joint replacement?

Lasers Med Sci. 2015 Dec;30(9):2335-9. doi: 10.1007/s10103-015-1814-6. Epub 2015 Sep 29.


The current study evaluates whether the addition of low-level laser therapy into standard conventional physical therapy in elderly with bilateral symptomatic tri-compartmental knee arthritis can successfully postpone the need for joint replacement surgery. A prospective randomized cohort study of 100 consecutive unselected elderly patients with bilateral symptomatic knee arthritis with each knee randomized to receive either treatment protocol A consisting of conventional physical therapy or protocol B which is the same as protocol A with added low-level laser therapy. The mean follow-up was 6 years. Treatment failure was defined as breakthrough pain which necessitated joint replacement surgery. After a follow-up of 6 years, patients clearly benefited from treatment with protocol B as only one knee needed joint replacement surgery, while nine patients treated with protocol A needed surgery (p < 0.05). We conclude low-level laser therapy should be incorporated into standard conservative treatment protocol for symptomatic knee arthritis.

Keywords: Knee pain; Laser therapy; Osteoarthritis; Outcome.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / radiotherapy*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / surgery*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors