The benefits of high power laser treatment

Laser therapy devices have been used as an adjunct in physical therapy treatments for decades, providing pain relief for injured muscles and joints.1 However, in the past these devices tended to be relatively low in power, requiring extended periods of use to provide therapeutic effects.

Nowadays, more modern devices are capable of delivering therapeutic light energy much faster, but what exactly are the benefits of high power laser treatment?

What is laser therapy?

Laser therapy, or photobiomodulation, applies light energy to the body with the aim of promoting healing. Laser radiation is absorbed in the cell mitochondria and converted into energy (ATP) by the cell, which helps synthesize protein and stimulate the creation of new cells. This leads to the normalization of the affected region by promoting a reduction in swelling, relieving pain, and accelerating the tissue repair process.2

Low level laser therapy devices have an output measured in mW, meaning the time to deliver therapeutic amounts of light energy can make them inefficient, especially when treating deep-lying injuries or large areas such as quadriceps.

High power laser therapy devices, on the other hand, have multiple Watts of power, greatly reducing the treatment times of even large or deep structures. This makes high power laser treatment an effective and practical physical therapy modality.

What are the benefits of high power laser treatment?

From reducing pain to improving mobility, studies have shown there are many documented benefits of high power laser treatment.

Increased hamstring force

In a study by Verma et al. (2022),3 high power laser therapy was used on two groups of athletes with proximal hamstring tendinopathy. The group receiving high power laser therapy in addition to conventional physiotherapy showed an increase in hamstring force (Isokinetic Peak Torque in Nm) of 13% after treatment, compared to 1.5% in the group that received only conventional physiotherapy.

Better shoulder mobility

Atan et al.’s 2021 study4 Involved using high power laser therapy to treat patients with frozen shoulder. Those in the group that received high power laser and exercise showed 60° better shoulder mobility after treatment compared to 38° in the group that used only exercise.

Less tennis elbow pain

A study by Roberts et al. (2013)5 demonstrated that patients who received eight sessions of high power laser treatment experienced a 93% decrease in tennis elbow pain and a 71% improvement of function in the joint. This was compared to no improvement in pain and worsening function in the placebo control group.

Reduced jaw pain

In Ekici’s 2022 study,6 patients with temporomandibular disorder who were treated with high power laser experienced a 55% decrease in jaw pain, compared to 4% of those treated with a placebo laser.

Less carpal tunnel pain

Ezzati et al. (2020)7 showed that patients treated with high power laser therapy benefitted from 68% less carpal tunnel pain compared to 30% with low level laser therapy when using the same fluence (8J/cm.)

Less knee osteoarthritis pain

The knee osteoarthritis patients in Kim et al.’s 2016 study8 experienced 38% more pain relief and 37% additional functional improvement than those who were only given conventional physical therapy.

Less back pain

Patients with lumbar disc protrusion who took part in Chen et al.’s 2018 study9 had 25% more pain relief when high power laser treatment was added to traction therapy than when they received traction therapy alone.

The benefits of LightForce® high power laser therapy

In the field of high power laser treatment, Chattanooga’s® LightForce® laser therapy devices stand out. These products have been used to deliver an estimated 1.2 million treatments per month in 29 countries around the world, enabling clinicians to provide their patients with the beneficial effects of high power laser therapy.

Chatterjee et al.’s 2019 study10 showed that LightForce laser therapy added to standard of care for neuropathic pain resulted in a 30% greater improvement in pain compared to standard of care with placebo laser in patients with diabetic neuropathy.

The same study also demonstrated a 42% greater improvement in quality of life. Furthermore, no side effects or adverse events were reported during the study period, adding to the evidence that high power laser treatment for musculoskeletal disorders is a safe technique.11

LightForce laser therapy

Customers seeking to offer high power laser therapy can choose from three different LightForce devices, each with their own maximum level of power:

LightForce® FXi Therapy Laser – 15W

Portable but powerful

Although lightweight, with a maximum power of 15W, the FXi still has more than enough energy to enable fast, effective laser treatments. Weighing just 3.2kg and with a rechargeable battery that lasts for up to half a day on a single charge, the FXi is a great choice for physios looking to bring the clinic to the patient.

LightForce FXi

LightForce® XPi Therapy Laser – 25W

The next step in laser therapy

Boasting a maximum power of 25W, the XPi makes treating patients even faster. And with its smart handpiece providing real-time visual and haptic feedback on dosing speed, users can be even more confident in delivering effective high power laser treatment.

LightForce XPi

LightForce® XLi Therapy Laser – 40W

Maximum power, maximum efficiency

For the busiest practices, the LightForce® XLi provides maximum benefit. With an impressive top power of 40W and the XL Treatment Cone included, clinicians greatly reduce the time needed to treat effectively, allowing them to fit more patients into their daily schedule.

LightForce XLi

You can download our infographic on the benefits of high power laser therapy here:

To learn more about LightForce therapy lasers visit

As laser light can damage the eye, make sure to wear protective glasses during your treatment and never look into the laser beam.


  1. Kitchen, S. S. & Partridge, C. J. (1991). A Review of Low Level Laser Therapy: Part I: Background, Physiological Effects and Hazards. Physiotherapy 77(3): 161-168.
  2. da Silva, J.P., da Silva, M.A., Almeida, A.P., Lombardi Junior, I., Matos, A.P. (2010). Laser therapy in the tissue repair process: a literature review. Photomed Laser Surg. Feb;28(1): 17-21.
  3. Verma, S., Esht, V., Chahal, A., Kapoor, G., Sharma, S., Alghadir, A.H., Khan, M., Kashoo, F.Z., Shaphe, M.A. (2022). Effectiveness of High Power Laser Therapy on Pain and Isokinetic Peak Torque in Athletes with Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy: A Randomized Trial. Biomed Res Int. May 20;2022:4133883.
  4. Atan, T., Bahar-Ozdemir, Y. (2021). Efficacy of high-intensity laser therapy in patients with adhesive capsulitis: a sham-controlled randomized controlled trial. Lasers Med Sci. Feb;36(1):207-217.
  5. Roberts, D.B., Kruse, R.J., Stoll, S.F. (2013). The effectiveness of therapeutic class IV (10 W) laser treatment for epicondylitis. Lasers Surg Med. Jul;45(5):311-7.
  6. Ekici, Ö., Dündar, Ü., Büyükbosna, M. (2022). Effectiveness of high-intensity laser therapy in patients with myogenic temporomandibular joint disorder: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Stomatol Oral Maxillofac Surg. Jun;123(3):e90-e96.
  7. Ezzati, K., Laakso, E.L., Saberi, A., Yousefzadeh Chabok S., Nasiri, E., Bakhshayesh Eghbali B. (2020). A comparative study of the dose-dependent effects of low level and high intensity photobiomodulation (laser) therapy on pain and electrophysiological parameters in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. Dec;56(6):733-740.
  8. Kim, G.J., Choi, J., Lee, S., Jeon, C., Lee, K. (2016). The effects of high intensity laser therapy on pain and function in patients with knee osteoarthritis. J Phys Ther Sci. Nov;28(11):3197-3199.
  9. Chen, L., Liu, D., Zou, L., Huang, J., Chen, J., Zou, Y., Lai, J., Chen, J., Li, H., Liu, G. (2018). Efficacy of high intensity laser therapy in treatment of patients with lumbar disc protrusion: A randomized controlled trial. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. Feb 6;31(1):191-196.
  10. Chatterjee, P., Srivastava, A.K., Kumar, D.A., Chakrawarty, A., Khan, M.A., Ambashtha, A.K., Kumar, V., De Taboada, L., Dey, A.B. (2019). Effect of deep tissue laser therapy treatment on peripheral neuropathic pain in older adults with type 2 diabetes: a pilot randomized clinical trial. BMC Geriatr. Aug 12;19(1):218.
  11. Arroyo-Fernández, R., Aceituno-Gómez J, Serrano-Muñoz, D., Avendaño-Coy, J. (2023). High-Intensity Laser Therapy for Musculoskeletal Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. J Clin Med. Feb 13;12(4):1479.

The link between COVID-19 and heel pain

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, the number of patients reporting heel pain has risen. The condition is now so common it has come to be known as “pandemic foot”. Is there really a link between COVID-19 and heel pain, and if so, what treatment options are available?

What is plantar fasciitis?

While “pandemic foot” might be a catchy name, the correct medical term is plantar heel pain, or plantar fasciitis. This condition presents as pain felt on the bottom of the foot around the heel and arch. It is an overuse condition often associated with runners, especially those over the age of 40.

Excessive pressure on the foot, along with a tight calf or Achilles tendon, can cause inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot connecting the heel to the toes.

The pain is commonly felt during the first step, as well as during weight-bearing tasks, particularly after periods of rest.1 Patients often report the pain at its worst as they take their first steps of the day after getting out of bed. It typically decreases as the calf and Achilles tendon become looser during activity, only to return the following day after things have tightened up again during the night.

Does COVID-19 cause plantar fasciitis?

There is no current evidence to suggest there is a direct link between COVID-19 and heel pain. Instead, the rise in plantar fasciitis is more likely to be due to the changes in our daily lives the pandemic has brought about.

Gym attendances have declined since the beginning of the pandemic, with outdoor running and walking becoming more popular instead. More running and walking mean more stress on the plantar fascia, which, due to an increase in flexible working, can be exacerbated by more time spent walking around at home in bare feet, slippers, or flip-flops.

Without the additional support that a heeled shoe can provide, like those typically worn in office environments, the foot spends more time in a flat position, which, for extended periods, can put additional strain on the fascia. Add to this stiff muscles and tendons from running, and you have a recipe for plantar fasciitis. This is the indirect link between COVID-19 and heel pain.

How can heel pain be treated?

There are a number of conservative treatment options for plantar fasciitis. They range from relatively simple orthotics to more advanced rehabilitation devices.

Taping for heel pain

Physio tape (also known as kinesiology tape) like Chatt-Tape is elastic adhesive tape that can be applied to parts of the body to aid healing and recuperation of the soft tissue.2

Tape can be applied to the heel, ankle, and underside of the foot to release tension in the plantar fascia as well as stabilize it. A study by Tezel et al. (2020) showed that kinesiology tape provided pain relief and improved quality of life for patients with plantar fasciitis, as well as improved functionality.3

Chatt-Tape plantar fasciitis
Aircast AirHeel and Dorsal Night Splint

Bracing for heel pain

Plantar fasciitis can be relieved by wearing an orthotic during the night to help reduce the tightening of the calf muscles and Achilles tendon.4 One such device is Aircast’s Dorsal Night Splint; this product is worn while the patient sleeps, to maintain the position of the foot at 90°, thereby helping to stretch the calf and Achilles tendon.

Another type of foot orthosis for plantar fasciitis is a pneumatic ankle brace. Also from Aircast, the AirHeel is designed to treat plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and heel pain. Using two interconnected aircells located under the foot arch and in the back of the heel, the brace applies pulsating compression with every step to help reduce swelling and discomfort and enhance circulation.

Kavros’s 2005 study showed that patients with higher plantar fasciitis pain experience faster relief with the Airheel than with a shoe insert.5

Shock wave therapy for heel pain

Shock wave therapy is an electronic modality that uses acoustic waves to stimulate the body on a cellular level for healing purposes. Generally divided into focused shock wave (F-SW) and radial pressure wave (RPW) therapy, shock wave therapy has been shown to be a clinically proven treatment option for plantar fasciitis, especially when treatments like taping have not been successful.1

In a 2022 study by Wheeler et al., RPW treatment provided significant improvement of pain and function in patients with chronic plantar fasciopathy.6

Intelect 2 RPW
LightForce laser therapy

High power laser therapy for heel pain

High power laser therapy, like that offered by LightForce, uses the energy of focused light to trigger the body’s natural healing processes, thereby speeding recovery.

Ordahan et al.’s 2018 study demonstrated that high power laser therapy provided improvement of pain and function in patients with plantar fasciitis.7

Combining laser therapy with shock wave therapy has shown to be even more effective.8

To learn more about products for heel pain, visit


  1. Morrissey, D., Cotchett, M., Said J’Bari, A., Prior, T., Griffiths, I. B., Rathleff, M. S., Gulle, H., Vicenzino, B., & Barton, C. J. (2021). Management of plantar heel pain: a best practice guide informed by a systematic review, expert clinical reasoning and patient values. British journal of sports medicine, 55(19), 1106–1118.
  2. Homayouni, K., et al. (2013). Comparison between kinesio taping and physiotherapy in the treatment of de Quervain’s disease. J. Musculoskelet. Res. 16(4).
  3. Tezel, N., Umay, E., Bulut, M., Cakci, A (2020). Short-Term Efficacy of Kinesiotaping versus Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis: A Randomized Study. Saudi J Med Med Sci. Sep-Dec;8(3):181-187.
  4. Powell, M., Post, W. R., Keener, J., & Wearden, S. (1998). Effective treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis with dorsiflexion night splints: a crossover prospective randomized outcome study. Foot & ankle international, 19(1), 10–18.
  5. Kavros, S. J. (2005). The efficacy of a pneumatic compression device in the treatment of plantar fasciitis. Journal of applied biomechanics, 21(4), 404–413.
  6. Wheeler, P. C., Dudson, C., & Calver, R. (2022). Radial Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (rESWT) is not superior to “minimal-dose” rESWT for patients with chronic plantar fasciopathy; a double-blinded randomised controlled trial. Foot and ankle surgery : official journal of the European Society of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, 28(8), 1356–1365.
  7. Ordahan, B., Karahan, A. Y., & Kaydok, E. (2018). The effect of high-intensity versus low-level laser therapy in the management of plantar fasciitis: a randomized clinical trial. Lasers in medical science, 33(6), 1363–1369.
  8. Takla, M. K. N., & Rezk, S. S. R. (2019). Clinical effectiveness of multi-wavelength photobiomodulation therapy as an adjunct to extracorporeal shock wave therapy in the management of plantar fasciitis: a randomized controlled trial. Lasers in medical science, 34(3), 583–593.