Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes spoke openly about the high ankle sprain injury that almost sidelined his run to Super Bowl LVII on Sunday.
He recently told media members that the Chiefs’ training staff, which included a physical therapist spearheading his rehabilitation program, is the reason he’s able to play on the field.
Typically, a high ankle sprain can be a debilitating injury, physical therapists told Fox News Digital.
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“For Mahomes to return to the field within the week is a testament to his rehab team,” one physical therapist told Fox News Digital.
Several physical therapists with whom Fox News Digital spoke stressed the importance of a good rehab program so that athletes can get back on the field and non-athletes can get back to the activities of their daily lives.
James Kalenderian is a licensed physical therapist at Sound Side Physical Therapy in Locust Valley, New York.
He mentioned the talent and results of the Chiefs’ rehab team, which got the star quarterback back on the field so quickly.
Aside from a good physical therapy and athletic trainer team, Kalenderian said he would be “shocked if they were not also using some sort of class-four cold laser in combination with their rehab protocol,” he told Fox News Digital.
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Mahomes credited his physical therapist and rehab team on social media but did not state what his treatment entailed.
Kalenderian, who was not involved in Mahomes’ treatment, commented to Fox News Digital about the quarterback’s injury.
Physical therapists now have so many tools to complement their treatments, he said — and to help speed up the recovery of sports injuries in anyone, not just NFL professional athletes.
There are many types of lasers used in clinics, said Kalenderian, who added, “All cold lasers are not created equal.”
In addition to using manual therapy techniques to get a joint moving better, soft tissue massage to help tight, irritated muscles and tendons, and prescribed exercise to strengthen and improve flexibility, there are other modalities that can help foster healing, Kalenderian said.
One he finds especially useful in his Long Island practice is a class-four cold laser to help alleviate pain and help expedite recovery.
“In 24 years of practice, I have never seen a modality come onto the market and expedite healing as fast as this class-four cold laser,” he said.
The class-four laser is a notch above the typical cold laser therapy often seen in rehab, physical therapists told Fox News Digital. It has a higher power and higher wavelength than a typical cold laser that provides deeper healing properties.
One patient showed up on crutches due to an ankle sprain, said Kalenderian — and returned to the field after five laser treatments combined with conventional physical therapy treatments. The individual was even the high scorer of the game.
“The more power and wavelength you have, the more depth penetration you get to heal damaged cell tissues quicker.”
There are many types of lasers used in clinics, said Kalenderian — who added, “All cold lasers are not created equal.”
Treatment can last for about 15 minutes
“It is based on power and wavelength — and the more power and wavelength you have, the more depth penetration you get to heal damaged cell tissues quicker,” he told Fox News Digital.
During treatment with cold laser therapy, the health care professional beams the laser device at the skin in the area of the injury, he said.
The treatment can last for about 15 minutes. The patient and practitioner wear goggles during the procedure to protect their eyes.
The cold laser device sends light photons that penetrate the skin to get to the damaged tissue or joint, said the physical therapist.
The light triggers chemical changes in that area, which help spark damaged tissues to heal and actually regrow. The patient does not usually feel any discomfort during the procedure, according to physical therapists who spoke to Fox News Digital.
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“My patients love how quickly they get back to [their] sport and see results with the addition of this machine in my practice,” he said.
After one laser treatment session, the patient told Fox News Digital that the bruising in her knees disappeared and that the swelling in her knees was reduced by nearly 50%
One patient told Fox News Digital that this modality treatment really made a difference for her knees and back. “It really works,” she told Fox News Digital.
After one laser treatment session, the patient told Fox News Digital that the bruising in her knees disappeared and that the swelling in her knees was reduced by nearly 50%.
Kalenderian confirmed the patient’s claims.
The physical therapist said the machine he uses — the Phoenix Thera-lase System — can help reduce acute or chronic pain, treat inflammation and swelling, promote tissue regrowth, and increase blood circulation to help speed up healing.
It can be used to treat various injuries such as low back pain, tendonitis, swelling and sprains, health experts told Fox News Digital.
Since introducing this modality to his treatment sessions, Kalenderian said his patients are getting better faster and need fewer physical therapy sessions.
Another benefit of this type of laser therapy is that it is a drug-free alternative to treating pain at a time when the country faces an opioid crisis.
Opioids could be addictive and have other side effects, such as drowsiness, which affect the exercise portion of rehabilitation as well as uncomfortable side effects such as constipation and nausea, physical therapists said.
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Every patient’s injury is unique, said Kalenderian — and it is important for people to discuss with their health care provider if this type of cold laser therapy treatment is appropriate for their particular condition.
“I know the laser isn’t a quick fix and that I have to do my part with exercise.”
The treatment is not recommended for individuals with certain medical conditions such as cancer, those who have certain seizure disorders, and those who may be pregnant, physical therapists told Fox News Digital.
A downside to this treatment is the cost of laser therapy. Most health insurance plans do not cover this treatment currently, Kalenderian told Fox News Digital.
Some treatments can run about $100.
Michael P. of Long Island, New York (last name omitted for privacy), said he was scheduled for surgery to address a torn meniscus and sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee.
After learning about the Kansas City Chief quarterback’s successful rehabilitation, he decided to try a course of physical therapy with cold laser therapy to see if it would help alleviate his knee pain and help him avoid surgery.
After his first treatment with cold laser therapy, plus Kalenderian’s manual manipulation of his knee, he said his knee pain went down from a 7/10 to a 3/10.
It is important that a licensed health care professional oversee the cold laser treatment.
He said he also knows he needs to do more treatments and a course of exercises to rebuild the strength in his injured knee.
“I know the laser isn’t a quick fix and that I have to do my part with exercise — but I do think it is a great complementary therapy to my exercise and hands-on physical therapy treatment,” he said.
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved this type of treatment.
For best results, it is important that a licensed health care professional oversee the cold laser treatment, said physical therapists.
Also, the treatment should be used in combination with exercise and manual therapy treatment.
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A modality alone cannot treat an injury, physical therapists told Fox News Digital.
It is also important to have a rehab team guide the patient on proper exercise and instruction as the person rehabilitates the injury.