Guest Blog by Dr. Perry Nickelston
Football players experience a high number of musculoskeletal injuries throughout the season. Treatment methods may vary depending on the injury, but one modality that is increasingly gaining favor with professional and collegiate football teams for treatment of musculoskeletal injuries is Class IV Laser Therapy.
Here are some common football-related injuries that get great results with laser therapy to help get athletes (amateur, collegiate, and pro alike) back out on the field faster:
Laser therapy is effective for fast reduction of inflammation associated with this common injury. The use of lasers for pain reduction is becoming a standard of care in football training rooms across the country. Acute ankle sprains are painful in large part due to the amount of inflammation, so the sooner you can apply the laser after injury, the better.
Treatment Recommendation: Treat 1-2 times daily for three days with roughly 5 J/cm2 at 6-7 W (for a total of 1000 J). Then treat every other day for 3-6 sessions, with 8-10 J/cm2 at 9-10 W (for a total of 2,000 J), expanding treatment area around the ankle.*
High hamstring injuries are prevalent in this sport — occurring most often when an athlete is running. When the muscle tears, immediate pain and eventual bruising occur. Laser therapy helps stimulate torn tissue and reduces the amount of bruising.
Treatment Recommendation: Treat 1-2 times daily for three days with 6-7 J/cm2 at 8-9 W (for a total of
2,500 J). Then treat daily for 4 sessions with 8-10 J/cm2 at 12 W (for a total of 3,500 J). Finally, treat every other day for 3 sessions with the same dose.
Repetitive slow-onset injuries such as tendinitis respond well to laser therapy. Inflammation and swelling in the tendon cause sharp pain with movement, eventually leading to disuse. Laser therapy helps reduce pain, allowing for more movement and faster recovery.
Treatment Recommendation: Go for a total of 6-10 sessions with 8-10 J/cm2 at 8-10 W (for a total of 3000 J). Treat daily for first 3 days, then every other day for 3- 6 sessions.
Toe injuries are difficult to recover from because every standing movement affects the joint. Turf toe is notorious for being painful and stubborn to treat. Laser therapy applied to the toe increases blood circulation and joint range of motion, helping increase pain-free movement.
- Direct treatment on the toe: 200 J at 4-5 W, for a total of 6 treatments. Treat twice a day for the first three days, then every other day.
- Treatment on the muscles of the big toe: 1,000 J for flexor, 1,000 J for extensor, and 1,000 J for the bottom of the foot, all at 9-10 W. Treat twice a day for the first three days, then every other day.
Meniscus Injury (Medial and Lateral)
Knee injuries can be career ending. They are extremely painful and debilitating — I know because I’ve had one. Reducing swelling and inflammation is paramount to ensure the knee does not lock. Deep Tissue Laser Therapy delivers therapeutic light energy to the inner knee, helping to reduce pain and swelling.
Treatment Recommendation: Treat meniscus directly 1-2 times daily for 3 days, with 6-7 J/cm2 at 9-10 W (for a total of 700 J). Then treat both the meniscus and surrounding areas every other day with 8-10 J/cm2 at 9-10 W for 4-6 sessions (1,000 J over meniscus and another 2,000 J in knee, calf and thigh).*
*MVP Tip: One of the benefits of using higher-powered Class IV laser therapy is being able to treat surrounding areas quickly and effectively, promoting more comprehensive recovery.
If you’re looking for a new way to tackle pain and inflammation related to many common injuries, you may want to consider adding laser therapy equipment to your line-up.