What a Podiatrist Can Do For YOU!

What is Cold Laser Therapy? [How Does Low-Level Laser Therapy Work?]

How does cold laser therapy for pain work? What is cold laser therapy? Is cold laser therapy a hoax or a scam? See what the SCIENCE says!


  • Cold laser therapy is FDA-approved for the treatment of pain.
  • Medical research supports its effectiveness in treating many foot & ankle conditions.
  • Research also supports minimal to no known side effects.

See us for a NO OBLIGATION consultation for MLS therapy in Michigan.

MLS laser therapy, cold laser therapy

Table of Contents

Best cold laser therapy near me:

At Prime Foot & Ankle Specialists, we want to be the answer to the question “What is the best cold laser therapy near me?”

What is Cold Laser Therapy:

Cold laser therapy is a non-painful laser treatment that stimulates healing while using low levels of light. 

The laser we use at our office is FDA approved for treatment for health conditions.

This is called “cold” laser therapy because the low light levels aren’t enough to burn your body’s tissue.

The level of light is low compared to other forms of laser therapy, such as those used to destroy tumors and coagulate tissue. It is also low compared to surgical and aesthetic lasers.

Cold therapy does not burn the tissue.

Cold laser therapy is also known as:

  • MLS laser therapy.
  • Low-level laser therapy (LLLT)
  • Low-power laser therapy (LPLT)
  • Soft laser biostimulation
  • Photobiomodulation

In Summary, here’s what you can expect:

  • Quick, painless treatments lasting approximately 10-15 minutes
  • No downtime
  • 6-10 sessions for full treatment
  • Decrease in swelling and pain in as little as 3 treatments
  • No side effects

We use laser therapy in our offices because we want to provide an effective and safe treatment option for our patients to heal quickly, recover fully and reduce pain effectively.  

Is cold laser therapy effective?

Yes cold therapy is extremely effective for numerous lower extremity skin, soft tissue, and nerve problems.

  • It is FDA approved for the treatment of the lower extremity.
  • There are a large number of high-level studies confirming the effectiveness of cold laser therapy.
  • We use a newer, more advanced version of cold laser therapy called MLS laser therapy.
  • This stands for multi-wave locked system laser therapy.
  • We consider MLS laser therapy the best in-office cold laser therapy.

What is the best cold laser therapy?

As mentioned above, we use a cold laser device called the MLS laser therapy. This stands for multi-wave locked system therapy.

  • The MLS laser therapy takes advantage of different types of waves.
  • The working theory of cold laser therapy is that these therapeutic laser frequencies can affect cell metabolism and increase metabolism.

What conditions is cold laser therapy good for?

In the foot & ankle, cold laser treatment can be used for:

  • Arthritic Pain.
  • Post-Surgical Swelling & pain.
  • Bottom of the Heel Pain & Back of the Heel Pain.
  • Achilles Tendonitis.
  • Insertional Achilles Tendonitis.
  • Morton’s Neuroma Pain. 
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries.
  • Sprains & Strains.
  • Occupational Injuries.
  • Bruising.
  • Wounds & Ulcers.

How does cold laser therapy work:

These are some of the features of cold laser therapy.

  • Rapid relief of pain.
  • Strong anti-inflammatory effect. 
  • Timely healing of sprains and strains.
  • Faster recovery of the structural integrity of the injured region.
  • Prompt resolution of swollen areas. 
  • Immediate improvement of local blood circulation.
  • Rapid repair of superficial injuries, such as wounds and ulcers. 

What are the side effects of cold laser therapy?

MLS Cold Laser Therapy has no known adverse side effects, a non-invasive, non-pharmacological solution for even the most complex cases. 

There are no major known side effects. This is a well-studied device that is FDA approved for the treatment of the lower extremity (Foot & Ankle)

We have been using this therapy for numerous years and have had no significant issues or problems.

What is MultiWave Locked System Laser Therapy?

It is known that specific light emissions can transfer energy to cells and tissue essentially. Upon exposure to laser light, areas subject to poor metabolism recover total activity. 

However, some light emissions are more effective than others. 

The MLS Cold Laser wavelengths guarantee the most profound possible action by identifying an extremely efficient waveform. This is based on scientific findings on the capacity of coherent light to penetrate biological tissues (epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue). The depth reached by light emissions depends on the incidental radiation wavelength. The reason lies in the presence of specific superficial chromophores that present areas of maximum absorption in correspondence to particular wavelength intervals, which will therefore be filtered and not reach the deepest tissue layers and transparent in other areas of the electromagnetic spectrum. 

The interval between 600 and 1200 nm is known as the ‘therapeutic window’ because there are no chromophores in this range to filter the light emission. The wavelengths of the emissions making up the cold laser pulse fall into this precise interval, meaning that they can reach the deepest anatomical structures that are often involved in ailments that cold laser therapy is most suitable for treating. Other wavelengths do not have the same effect. 

The cold laser emission can wholly and quickly restore an optimal biochemical and bioelectrical balance utilizing efficient energy transfer. The use of the cold laser makes it possible to recruit intracellular photoreceptors immediately and restore higher energy conditions to the cells. 

The new & improved laser:

Cold laser therapy has brought about an effective change in the way many challenging pathologies are managed. 

This powerful, targeted treatment modality delivers anti-inflammatory, anti-edematous, and analgesic relief. Though laser therapy has been available for nearly 35 years, recent advances in technology have eliminated previous limitations and maximized effectiveness, yielding exceptional treatment results.

The MLS Cold therapy laser features a synchronized combination of two unique laser emission modes, continuous and pulsed, each delivering their characteristic beneficial effects. 

The accelerated mitigation of pain and consistently positive outcomes produce considerably reduced treatment times. By synchronizing its continuous and pulsed emissions, Cold Laser Therapy can provide an intense and direct therapeutic effect on inflammation and edema and the painful symptoms accompanying them. 


Cold Laser Therapy is painless, with most patients reporting no sensation at all while receiving laser therapy. Treatments average 8 minutes. 

Cold Laser Therapy is fast-acting; many patients in high levels of acute pain experience relief after the first or second treatment. Over 90% of patients experience positive results after the 3rd treatment, with the average course of treatment being 7 to 10 sessions. In many cases, swelling is significantly reduced by the 3rd or 4th treatment, and pain is diminished. 

The effects of Cold Laser Therapy are cumulative; therefore, improvement is expected throughout treatment. Chronic conditions can be controlled with regular laser therapy treatments. Acute conditions usually subside quickly, typically within one phase of treatments. Overall reduction of treatment time through the simultaneous easing of the edema-contracture-pain triad distinguishes Cold Laser Therapy from other laser treatments. All beneficial effects are reciprocally strengthened, delivering timely and targeted results. 

The Cold therapy laser features a synchronized combination of two unique laser emission modes, continuous and pulsed, each delivering their characteristic beneficial effects. 

Continuous laser & pulsed laser emissions:

Continuous laser emissions act quickly on inflammation, stimulating blood and lymphatic circulation and inducing fast re-absorption of fluid build-ups; however, they only have a secondary effect on pain, which is diminished only after reducing the inflammatory process. 

On the other hand, pulsed laser emissions directly affect pain since they can induce analgesia, interfering with the very transmission of the pain impulse to the higher brain centers. Still, they are less effective at treating inflammation and edema, only achieving results after a lengthy application period. 

Cold Laser Therapy is unique in that it organizes continuous and pulsed emissions that generate simultaneous anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. 

Our MLS Cold Laser Therapy has been cleared by the FDA and proven successful, as evidenced by extensive and credible studies conducted in our country’s finest institutions, including Harvard University. 

We are proud to be at the medical technological forefront by offering MLS Cold Laser Therapy.

 We have invested in the very best technology as a critical component of our continuing quest to offer the finest in health care. 

The MLS cold laser means a multi-wave locked system laser. It is a particular model of low-level cold laser.

What does cold laser therapy do?

Cold laser therapy creates a spectrum of therapeutic wavelengths that can increase cell metabolism.

  • There are many different working theories, and we explained these above.
  • Here we detail the most common conditions of cold laser can work with and the scientific studies.

Does cold laser therapy work for plantar fasciitis:

This 2018 study found that both shockwave therapy and cold laser therapy were very effective for plantar fasciitis. This study found excellent results at 6 weeks and 12 weeks following laser therapy.

  • On a visual analog scale ranging from 0-10, there is an average reduction of 6.6 out of 10 on the pain scale.
  • This is an excellent outcome. This was a high-level study looking at 1676 patients with plantar fasciitis.
  • These studies did compare to other treatment options such as a placebo, neurostimulation, eccentric muscle strengthening.
  • This is a very high-level study with a high amount of patients showing excellent results.

On average, it is rare to improve 6.6 out of 10 in any treatment program.
These plantar fasciitis reviews correlate with our experiences which show excellent overall improvement.

This study confirms that MLS laser therapy for plantar fasciitis is very effective for foot pain, Achilles tendinitis, and others.

Cold laser & shockwave therapy on plantar fasciitis studies:

This 2020 scientific research study looked at the effective high-intensity laser therapy versus low-level laser therapy in treating plantar fasciitis.

MLS laser therapy was not specifically studied in this research paper, but MLS treatment does combine different wavelengths similar to these types of laser assistance.

  • This was a randomized participant blind controlled trial.
  • This study found that both high-intensity laser and low-intensity laser were very effective in treating plantar fasciitis.
  • In just 3 weeks, the patient had experienced a 2.57 out of 10 pain relief score versus a 2.88 visual analog scale out of 10 improvements.
  • These are both excellent results for only 3 weeks of treatment.

This study determined that laser therapy also is very effective in treating plantar fasciitis.

MRI validation of laser treatment of plantar fasciitis:

This 2017 study found that shockwave therapy and low-level laser therapy were significantly superior to ultrasound therapy.

  • They found that after 1 month, the pain score had improved, and almost all patients by at least 2 out of 10.
  • It also found that the success rate was 70.6% in the laser group, 65% in the shockwave group, and just 23% in the ultrasound therapy group.

For this reason, we believe MLS laser therapy and shockwave therapy are much more beneficial than just ultrasound therapy.

Cold laser therapy for Achilles tendonitis:

This 2021 study aims to compare low-level laser therapy for Achilles tendonitis.

  • The studies we had mentioned earlier have proven to be very beneficial in improving the pain, function, and elasticity regarding connective tissue such as the plantar fascia.
  • There have been no specific high-level studies aimed at Achilles tendinitis.
  • But there is a study regarding a low-level laser therapy for Achilles Tendonitis Currently taking place in Lithuania.

We are eagerly awaiting the results, and we anticipate that this will be a high outcome study.

Does cold laser therapy work for arthritis?

This 2015 study looked at knee osteoarthritis with low-level laser therapy.

  • It looked at 612 studies, including 9 randomized controlled trials.
  • It did find a very slight improvement with laser therapy, but it appears that laser therapy does not affect healing knee arthritis.

There are 2 things to consider:

  1. #1 is that laser is more effective for connective tissue and soft tissue injuries.
  2. #2 since 2015, there has been a lot of improvements regarding low-level laser therapy, including the dual wave capabilities of MLS laser therapy.

In our opinion, it is unlikely that laser therapy can cure osteoarthritis, nor does it claim to.

Laser therapy can likely reduce inflammation and increased metabolism in the area.

Unfortunately, the body does not have the ability to self-heal osteoarthritis even when assisted by cold level therapy.

Does cold laser therapy really work for feet:

The cold laser has been proven to be scientifically validated for numerous foot and ankle pain conditions.

  • Specifically, it is effective in most proven plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, soft tissue skin conditions, foot and ankle pain secondary to peripheral neuropathy.
  • For these reasons, we recommend MLS laser therapy for the feet.

We always invite patients to come to see our podiatrist for a no-obligation consultation at our Michigan office.

Cold laser therapy for Morton’s neuroma:

This 2017 study shows the effectiveness of low High-intensity laser therapy and then testing with diagnostic ultrasound.

  • This retrospective ultrasound review of 31 pretreatment Morton neuroma feet showed neuroma changes in 30 out of 31 cases.
  • After using low-level laser therapy, 29 out of 31 cases had shown decreased pain or changes through the neuroma site.
  • Although this is not a direct comparison of a cold laser for Morton’s neuroma treatment, there is some overlap between high-intensity laser therapy and MLS laser therapy that uses a multi-wave locked system.
  • We personally believe that that MLS laser therapy is of strong ability to improve Morton’s neuroma pain.

Consider seeing our podiatrists in our Michigan office for a no-obligation appointment for MLS laser therapy for Morton’s neuroma pain.

Is cold laser therapy effective on neuropathic pain?

This 2019 study tested laser therapy on rats with induced nerve damage.

  • Suppose found that the protective sheath called the myelin sheath around the nerves was able to show signs of regeneration.
  • It did show beneficial chemical changes.
  • This study states that there is very positive support for laser therapy as a strategy for patients suffering from neuropathic pain.

Does cold laser therapy help with tendinopathy?

This 2015 study was a small study that looked at 6 adult sheep with induced tendon lesions. It measured how 10 treatments of MLS laser therapy resulted in tendon improvement.

  • This study found that laser therapy on sheep with induced tendon injuries did show an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • It did show that there is less inflammation and increased collagen fiber organization in the tendons.
  • In summary, this means an improvement in blood supply and increased tendon reorganization and healing.

Is cold laser therapy safe?

Yes, cold laser therapy is considered safe. There are no documented significant side effects.

  • It is especially safe when considered against alternative treatments such as medications or surgical therapies.
  • There are some contraindications for cold laser therapy.
  • Specifically, it should not be used on cancerous lesions, as it has been a contraindication in animal models.
  • No specific models are documenting any harmful outcomes that we are aware of in the literature database.
  • Cold laser therapy is FDA approved for treating foot and ankle skin conditions.
  • It is a strongly accepted medical treatment with a large number of high-level studies with large numbers of patients evaluated for numerous conditions.

Can cold laser therapy be harmful?

Cold laser therapy is FDA approved for treating foot and ankle lower extremity conditions.

  • We have used cold laser therapy extensively and have not had any significant side effects or major issues.
  • It is generally considered a very safe therapy in the medical literature, especially when compared to surgery or medications.
  • Some reports of cold laser therapy not being indicated to be used on precancerous lesions, but this would not be part of her patient selection criteria anyway.

Can cold laser therapy cause cancer?

There are no documented studies where cold laser therapy can cause cancer in human beings.

  • There are some rat model studies where cold laser therapy can improve the metabolism of precancerous lesions.
  • This is something that would be expected based on the metabolism, as the sole goal of cold laser therapy is to increase the metabolism of cells.
  • It would not be a patient I will select criteria to use cold laser therapy on any precancerous lesions.
  • If there is a suspicious lesion, we would treat this differently and perform a soft tissue biopsy to rule out any danger.

Is cold laser therapy FDA approved?

Yes, cold laser therapy is FDA approved.

Is cold laser therapy legitimate?

Yes, cold laser therapy is considered to be very legitimate.

  • Numerous high-level studies are documenting a large variety of different conditions.
  • Cold laser therapy is FDA approved.
  • We personally have a history of using cold laser therapy with excellent results and minimal to no side effects that we are aware of in the scientific literature.
  • Cold laser therapy is considered especially safe compared to invasive therapy such as surgery or the use of medications.

How long does cold laser therapy last?

The cold laser treatment course is 5-10 minutes for most foot and ankle conditions, although it depends on the size of the area being treated.

  • More fresh or acute injuries or conditions may require daily treatment.
  • This is more true if they are accompanied by significant pain.
  • Long-term soreness and chronic injury typically respond better when the treatments are received 2-3 times per week.

Is cold laser therapy real?

Yes, cold therapy is real.

  • It is an FDA-approved procedure that has much more advantages and disadvantages.
  • There are a large number of studies that showed a benefit for numerous foot and ankle conditions.

Are the results long-lasting?

Cold laser therapy is about healing and not masking a condition, or covering it up.

  • People feel better from this therapy because they are better, and that’s long-lasting relief.
  • This treatment is part of a multifactorial treatment plan.
  • This means we will assess your body to assess for any biomechanical changes or any major damage that needs to be corrected.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do shockwave and laser therapy compare:

There is a study that compared radial shockwave therapy and class IV laser therapy for plantar fasciitis.

  • This 2018 study found that at 6 weeks, both shockwave and laser therapy had significantly improved the patient’s self-reported pain scale.
  • Radial shockwave therapy and the low-level cold laser reported the 2 best scores out of numerous treatment methods.
  • There are fewer high-level studies for cold laser therapy than there are for radial shockwave therapy.
  • This paper recommended that both radial shockwave and class IV laser therapy (AKA cold laser therapy) were beneficial and recommended for plantar fasciitis.

What is cold laser therapy?

  • Cold laser therapy is an FDA-approved treatment for deep tissue injuries and soft tissue problems.
  • There have been numerous high-level studies performed that support the use of cold laser therapy for the following conditions:

Peripheral neuropathy of the foot and ankle, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.

Laser treatment also works for soft tissue muscle conditions such as plantar fasciitis: Achilles tendinitis, Morton’s neuroma, foot, and ankle ulcers, skin conditions as well as overuse muscle-tendon injuries.

Is cold laser therapy a hoax?

It is normal sometimes to wonder if cold laser therapy is a hoax. This is reasonable to assume since traditional insurance does not cover it.

  • The truth is that this is an FDA-approved therapy that has been used extensively throughout the country for a variety of conditions extending from the head to the toes.
  • It is considered to be relatively side-effect-free and low risk.
  • It is considered a strong alternative to surgery for many of the conditions that we deal with at her foot and ankle surgery clinic.
  • We personally believe that this is an extremely effective treatment with 100s of studies spread across thousands if not 100s of thousands if not millions of patients.
  • There is a solid consensus about how effective cold laser therapy and MLS laser therapy are utilized in our clinic.
  • On this page, we list numerous high-level studies and rapid prospective studies that look at the research.

Cold laser therapy is a very effective treatment that has been utilized extensively without much downside.

Does cold laser therapy work?

Yes, cold laser therapy works extremely well.

  • In our opinion, this is 1 of the safest, the most cost-effective, and the most low-risk procedures that we performed in our office.
  • There is no penetration through the skin, and there is no substance entering her body.
  • Cold laser therapy is considered to be safe without any tissue damage absorbed.
  • Cold therapy works by stimulating the body with various waves of light that stimulate increased metabolism.

Further in this article, we describe exactly how it works and link to numerous research papers showing how it works in new developing benefits realized from cold laser therapy.

How does cold laser therapy work?

Cold laser therapy works by admitting a beam of light that stimulates her body’s soft tissues and cell membranes.

  • This has been shown to increased metabolism and decreases inflammation.
    Cold laser therapy is advancing and improving every single year.
  • Thus new benefits and new studies are coming out regularly.
  • In this article, we do our best to go over the exact mechanism of action of how cold laser therapy works.

Is cold laser therapy a scam?

Because traditional insurances do not cover cold laser therapy, it is reasonable to assume that it is a scam.

  • This cannot be further from the truth. Cold laser therapy is FDA approved for treatment with numerous health conditions.
  • There are extensive high-level studies as well as randomized clinical trials proving how effective cold laser therapy is.
  • There is so much consensus evidence that laser therapy is not a scam.
  • We link numerous studies and articles throughout this post, emphasizing the benefits, evidence, and research behind cold laser treatment.

What is the use of cold laser therapy?

The use of cold laser therapy is for many health conditions throughout the lower extremity.
We specifically use this for:

  • Peripheral neuropathy of the foot and ankle,
  • diabetic peripheral neuropathy,
  • chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.

Laser treatment also works for soft tissue muscle conditions such as:

  • plantar fasciitis,
  • Achilles tendinitis,
  • Morton’s neuroma,
  • foot  and ankle ulcers,
  • skin conditions
  • as well as overuse muscle tendon injuries.

How much does cold laser therapy cost?

Cold laser therapy is FDA approved for conditions such as plantar fasciitis, but it is not covered by insurance.

  • Research studies show that treatment modalities such as shockwave therapy and cold laser therapy are cost-effective, but they are not covered by insurance.
  • We provide a low-cost payment plan that is less than some insurances’ average co-pay plan.
  • We believe that this is a very affordable and worthwhile treatment that can help avoid surgery.

We stand so strongly by this treatment method that we offer no-obligation treatment visits to see if you are the right candidate for cold laser therapy.

Does medicare cover cold laser therapy?

Cold laser therapy is FDA-approved and proven to be very effective, but Medicare does not cover MLS laser therapy.

Insurance generally does not cover newer and advanced treatment modalities.

Our strong belief is that cold laser therapy in class IV laser therapy can effectively reduce the need for surgical procedures and is very beneficial in healing wounds and swelling. Unfortunately, we all have to keep asking the question, “is cold laser therapy covered by Medicare?” The answer is NO.

We believe so strongly in this treatment and standby cold laser therapy reviews that we offer a no-obligation consultation.

We believe that there is a minimal risk as if the patient does not see an early benefit from this treatment, we will do what it takes to make the situation right.

Is cold laser therapy covered by insurance?

Unfortunately, cold laser therapy is not covered by insurance.

It is FDA approved and accepted as a valid cost-effective treatment option.

  • The average co-pay can be more than the overall cost for cold laser therapy, in our opinion.
  • We offer a no-obligation consultation to assess whether our patients are the right candidates for cold or Class IV level laser therapy.
  • We also provide shockwave therapy in the office, which can be a very beneficial therapeutic modality.

Is cold laser therapy covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield?

Unfortunately, cold laser therapy is not covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield at this time.

  • cold laser therapy is an FDA-approved therapy.
  • We utilize MLS therapy for, in our opinion, more rapid healing of Achilles tendonitis, foot pain, plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, peripheral neuropathy, and arthritis.
  • We stand by this treatment so strongly that we are offering no-obligation evaluation for this therapy.

If the patient does not see rapid improvement, we will do what it takes to make things right.

Is cold laser therapy covered by insurance?

Cold laser therapy is FDA approved, but unfortunately, cold laser therapy is not covered by insurance.

We believe so strongly in its effectiveness that we offer a no-obligation visit to test this therapy for yourself and see how beneficial it can be.

We also go over all the scientific research and studies to show the effectiveness for you.

List of conditions our podiatrists treat:

Office procedures our podiatrists perform: