Red Light Therapy in the Management of Plantar Fasciitis
If you experience pain or tension at the bottom of your foot, especially while walking, you may have plantar fasciitis. In this blog post, I want to shine a light on how red light therapy can not only alleviate foot pain but will get you back into your regular walking or running routine. I encourage you to share this blog post with anyone you may know who may have this common foot condition.
Why do we get plantar fasciitis and what is there to be done about it?
First off let’s step into how plantar fasciitis develops. It may be from a job that requires a significant amount of walking on hard surfaces or a new exercise regime that is significantly more intense on your lower limbs. Because the bottom part of the foot’s purpose is to absorb the weight we put on our feet, too much pressure may lead to an injury resulting in plantar fasciitis. The pain associated with plantar fasciitis stems from the inflammation of the thick part of the sole and can become worse by standing for a long period of time. Common symptoms include stiffness and tenderness. Ultimately, a ligament tear can happen to the thick connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot, also known as the plantar fascia, when a significant amount of stress and repetition occurs leading to either acute or chronic plantar fasciitis. As the condition progresses, you may experience a burning or numbness sensation around the heel when at rest.
Almost 10% of the population will experience this debilitating pain at some point in their lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, reports that “plantar fasciitis is the cause of one million doctor visits annually.” The most recent term to identify plantar fasciitis is “plantar heel pain.” Irritation and inflammation of the foot can also be identified as “plantar fasciosis,” identified as a more degenerative process. Because foot pain is very complex, this condition needs to be correctly diagnosed specific to each individual, like a heel spur or a compressed nerve could also be contributing to the foot pain and in that case, the plantar fascia may not be the issue. If you have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis or suspect this condition may burden you in the future, familiarizing yourself with pain management options such as red light therapy as it will allow you to be better prepared.
Let’s take a step further into some research
A 2015 randomized controlled trial article titled, “Low-Level Laser Therapy at 635 nm for Treatment of Chronic Plantar Fasciitis: A Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Study,” affirm how low-level laser therapy (LLLT), also known as red light therapy, increases the speed of tissue repair of plantar fasciitis resulting in decreased pain and inflammation reduction. The study covered low-level laser therapy for the treatment of unilateral chronic fasciitis and the data shown that low-level laser therapy is a favorable treatment of plantar fasciitis.
A prospective study from 2014 analyzed how low-level laser therapy demonstrated positive results for the treatment of both chronic and acute pain from plantar fasciitis. Additionally, A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial from 2010 looked at the results from those whom had LLLT applied and evaluated the plantar fasciitis post therapeutic treatment. This study used ultrasonography at the start of the study and then again post-therapeutic treatment. Significant change was noted as it was statistically documented from the participants. There was indeed a difference in plantar fascia thickness. It was also noted that plantar fascia thickness was not highlighted when compared to the placebo group. A direct quote from the study stated, “while ultrasound imaging is able to depict the morphologic changes related to plantar fasciitis, 904 nm gallium-arsenide (GaAs) infrared laser may contribute to healing and pain reduction in plantar fasciitis.”
Red and near-infrared light can help reduce inflammation and can aid in accelerating tissue healing. A study published in the National Institute of Health found that low-level laser therapy can be particularly effective over other standard therapies in relieving symptoms associated with plantar fasciitis and is the modality of choice to improve overall foot function. High-intensity laser therapy was examined in comparison to low-level laser therapy in this 2018 article titled, “The effect of high-intensity versus low-level laser therapy in the management of plantar fasciitis: a randomized clinical trial.” The collaborative analysis conducted by the researchers detailed that both treatments had significant improvement in the pain levels, function, as well as quality of life in the participants.
Sit back, relax and treat your feet with the following tips:
-While sitting comfortably on a couch or chair you can sit back and relax while reading a book or catching up on your favourite television series. Place the Rouge Tabletop on the floor or coffee table, prop your feet up on a small pillow for comfort and anchor your feet towards the panel.
-Ideally, to target the bottom of the foot around the heel area, another suggestion for optimal comfort is to create a space on the floor. Layout a yoga mat, blanket or pillows, whatever satisfies your comfort and lay onto your stomach exposing your heels towards the light.
- Another option is to place your foot on a chair while sitting and adjust the stand from the Rouge X for targeted treatment and shine the light towards the affected area.
The clinical efficacy of red light therapy for plantar fasciitis demonstrates tissue repair and heel pain relief. With each step taken as the heel strikes the ground, and tension gets placed on the fascia, the pain associated with this microscopic lesion can disrupt a simple walk. With red light therapy, you can improve activity-related pain. Red light therapy may be extremely beneficial to get back into your steps. Pamper your sore feet and alleviate the painful effects of plantar fasciitis today while allowing for normal function to be restored when using Rouge Care Products for home and professional use.
Macias DM, Coughlin MJ, Zang K, Stevens FR, Jastifer JR, Doty JF. Low-Level Laser Therapy at 635 nm for Treatment of Chronic Plantar Fasciitis: A Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Study. J Foot Ankle Surg. 2015;54(5):768-772. doi:10.1053/j.jfas.2014.12.014
Jastifer JR, Catena F, Doty JF, Stevens F, Coughlin MJ. Low-Level Laser Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Plantar Fasciitis: A Prospective Study. Foot Ankle Int. 2014;35(6):566-571. doi:10.1177/1071100714523275
Kiritsi O, Tsitas K, Malliaropoulos N, Mikroulis G. Ultrasonographic evaluation of plantar fasciitis after low-level laser therapy: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Lasers Med Sci. 2010;25(2):275-281. doi:10.1007/s10103-009-0737-5
Dos Santos SA, Sampaio LM, Caires JR, et al. Parameters and Effects of Photobiomodulation in Plantar Fasciitis: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review. Photobiomodul Photomed Laser Surg. 2019;37(6):327-335. doi:10.1089/photob.2018.4588
Ulusoy A, Cerrahoglu L, Orguc S. Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Clinical Outcomes of Laser Therapy, Ultrasound Therapy, and Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy for Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Foot Ankle Surg. 2017;56(4):762-767. doi:10.1053/j.jfas.2017.02.013
Li X, Zhang L, Gu S, et al. Comparative effectiveness of extracorporeal shock wave, ultrasound, low-level laser therapy, noninvasive interactive neurostimulation, and pulsed radiofrequency treatment for treating plantar fasciitis: A systematic review and network meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2018;97(43):e12819. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000012819
Cinar E, Saxena S, Uygur F. Low-level laser therapy in the management of plantar fasciitis: a randomized controlled trial. Lasers Med Sci. 2018;33(5):949-958. doi:10.1007/s10103-017-2423-3
Wang, W., Jiang, W., Tang, C., Zhang, X., & Xiang, J. (2019). Clinical efficacy of low-level laser therapy in plantar fasciitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine, 98(3), e14088. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000014088