Objective: This study was designed to evaluate the short-term efficacy of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) for improving pain and function in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
Methods: Forty-seven patients with knee osteoarthritis (79 knees), of both genders, participated in this randomized controlled double-blind clinical trial. They were randomly allocated to two groups: laser group with 25 patients (41 knees) and placebo group with 22 patients (38 knees). LLLT was performed three times a week, totaling nine sessions, using a AsGa 904 nm laser with mean power of 60 mW and beam area of 0.5 cm(2). Nine points were irradiated on the knee, with energy of 3.0 J/point. The placebo group was treated with the same laser device, but with a sealed probe. Evaluations using Lequesne, visual numerical scale (VNS), Timed Up and Go (TUG), goniometry and dynamometry were conducted before the treatment started and after the nine sessions of LLLT.
Results: A significant improvement in pain and function was found in all the assessments applied to the laser group. On comparing the laser group with the placebo group, significant differences were found in the VNS-resting and Lequesne evaluations.
Conclusion: Treatment with LLLT improves pain and function over the short term in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
Keywords: Exercise Therapy; Knee; Laser Therapy; Low-Level; Osteoarthritis.