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Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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Do you think laser therapy might help my patellofemoral pain syndrome? Someone else I know had this treatment and just raved about it. What can you tell me?

Low level laser therapy (sometimes referred to as therapeutic light) can have a positive effect on tissue repair and pain control. You know how good it feels on a sunny day after weeks of rain and gray skies. Laser as a form of light energy has the same effects on the body at a cellular level. Light energy is absorbed by the cells and is then transformed into energy. That energy can be used to repair or regenerate various parts of the cells. With patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) knee pain develops as a result of compressive loading forces across the patellofemoral joint. The patellofemoral joint is where the patella or knee cap glides up and down over the lower end of the femur (thigh bone). Altered alignment of the knee and muscle weakness of the hip and knee contribute to this very common problem among athletes. Overuse through endurance activities such as running, squats, going up and down stairs, and even sitting for long periods of time are risk factors as well. The resulting symptoms of pain, tenderness, and swelling can lead to reduced knee motion and function. Laser may help with the symptoms of patellofemoral pain syndrome but there is no evidence that it works any better than a placebo or "sham" (pretend) treatment. There are dozens of considerations when studying laser: wavelength used, power density, length of time laser is used (duration of treatment), how long between injury and treatment, and so on. Much more study is needed before laser will be recommended for the treatment of patellofemoral pain syndrome.


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