Image of a fractured ankle that had undergone surgery.

Using Red Light Therapy After Ankle Surgery

This article was written by Chris Marshall

There’s no denying that the aftermath of ankle surgery can be a frustrating one, especially as it’s usually a long and challenging process.

Pain, swelling, and limited mobility are three aspects that are usually seen after surgery. Whether these are still present some weeks after the operation or if you’re simply looking to speed up the process, consider the alternative treatment method known as red light therapy.

This exposes the body to red and near-infrared light through specific wavelengths which penetrate deep beneath the skin. It’s a completely non-invasive method that promotes healing and can be used alongside other treatment plans.

If you’re looking into incorporating light therapy into your surgical rehabilitation plan after ankle surgery, we’ve covered everything you need to know.


What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy is a non-invasive form of treatment that uses low levels of red light to target skin and cells.

Studies have shown that red light can support the recovery of damaged blood vessels and cartilage, reduce inflammation and joint pain, and accelerate the healing process.

It was once an expensive and out-of-reach therapy for many people and typically reserved for the four walls of a medical clinic. Now, advancements in technology have allowed for the therapy to be much more accessible as it can be used at home through a small device.

The healing powers of light can be delivered through panels or even a red light therapy (RLT) bed.



How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Red light therapy uses specific wavelengths of light to penetrate deep beneath the skin to stimulate biological processes within the cells.

The wavelengths are part of the visible light spectrum and range between 620 nm to 750 nm which is the area of the spectrum that boasts longer wavelengths and lower energy compared to other light therapy variants.

Its vast benefits are largely due to the increase in cellular energy production and blood flow as this promotes collagen synthesis and cellular repair while reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in the affected tissues.

For those who are taking time out in the aftermath of ankle surgery, red light can be used to get you back fighting fit quicker than you would have done otherwise.


Can You Use Red Light Therapy on Open Wounds?

If you have any open wounds, you should seek medical advice about the post-surgery process as these are more prone to infection and disruption to the area should be kept to a minimum.

In a case study about a 20-year-old girl’s experience with a severe burn wound, low-level laser therapy was used as an alternative to surgery.

After 25 sessions, the wound had healed completely - showing just how powerful light can be.

So while wound healing is possible, your doctor will be able to advise if you should go ahead with treatment or wait until the wound is healed.

Red light therapy has been found to help heal post-surgery incisions, scar tissue, and wounds. It was actually NASA who propelled research around the therapy into the stratosphere after they noticed that astronauts exposed to specific light wavelengths experienced accelerated wound healing.

This unexpected observation piqued their curiosity which led to extensive investigations into the therapeutic effects of light on the body’s regeneration processes.

Through rigorous scientific studies, NASA researchers uncovered that red and near-infrared light wavelengths could penetrate deep into the skin and stimulate cellular activity. These specific wavelengths stimulated the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a key energy source for cells, promoting tissue repair and regeneration.

As the space-related organization's findings became widely known, the medical community started to embrace the healing power of light for various applications, including wound healing in both acute and chronic cases.


How Soon Can You Use Red Light Therapy After Surgery?

As long as you follow the doctor's orders and speak to them about any alternative treatments, you can begin using red light therapy after surgery as soon as you’d like to.

Some doctors may recommend waiting two to three weeks after surgery before starting any light therapy treatments, but speak with your medical advisor about your situation as they’ll be able to give tailored advice.

With a tool like the Move+ Pro, you can supplement your recovery with a safe and effective device that aims to promote healing and reduce pain.

As it’s non-invasive and not harmful, you can use red light alongside the other therapies or medications that your doctor has prescribed for your recovery. It can be used in the comfort of your own home, so you can utilize RLT whenever you wish to.


Benefits of Red Light Therapy After Ankle Surgery

The benefits of red light therapy after ankle surgery are vast as it’s a holistic treatment method.


Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation and swelling after ankle surgery can last up to four months depending on the severity of the condition and the complexity of the surgery.

Yet inflammation can cause pain and reduce mobility which isn’t preferable after already experiencing the usual downtime of a surgical procedure.

This is where RLT shines bright as a tool to be used after ankle surgery because it promotes anti-inflammatory effects which lowers oxidative stress, increases local circulation, inhibits inflammatory cytokines, and blocks prostaglandin production.

You can apply the device directly to your ankle so the wavelengths of light can provide targeted care.


Enhanced Natural Healing Process

When a red light therapy device is applied to the skin, the light energy triggers cellular changes which accelerate the body’s natural healing mechanisms. 

It essentially speeds up the process and has been shown to enhance tissue regeneration, collagen remodeling, angiogenesis, and nerve healing.


Pain Relief

After ankle surgery, there may be bouts of pain in the aftermath. This is where red light can come in handy once again.

Its ability to improve local blood circulation means that swelling can be reduced along with nerve irritation.

It actually blocks the pain signal transmission through two actions. Firstly, it alters the nerve cell membrane permeability to sodium ions. Secondly, it modifies nerve thresholds which makes the nerves less excitable to pain stimuli.

It stimulates the release of endogenous opioids and endorphins which have natural analgesic properties too.

Customers of the MOVE+ Pro - report an 80% reduction in pain within 1-4 weeks.


How to Use Red Light Therapy on Your Ankle

There are different variants of red light therapy out there, from panels to beds and devices. So, the instructions on how to use red light therapy on your ankle will depend on which option you go with.

If you opt for an at-home device like our portable and wireless Move+ Pro, you’ll be able to get started with the therapy immediately.

When the device has been delivered, you’ll receive a manual with the instructions to follow. 

Remember: we’re always here to support you on your recovery journey, so if you do need more support we have lots of resources available.

Once you have the device, starting the treatment is fairly simple:

  • Simply adjust the strap around your ankle (an extender strap is available for other areas) and click the 3 modules in place.
  • Then, press and hold the power button to choose a treatment time (between 5 - 15 mins). 
  • Once completed, the device will vibrate and you’ll have successfully done your red light therapy session at home.

You can begin using this to reduce inflammation, boost the healing process, and reduce pain. In turn, your mobility should improve too.

In a controlled clinical trial that looked at patients who had undergone knee surgery, red light therapy was found to reduce the pain and swelling. In another study, red light was seen to improve healing after Achilles tendon repair surgery.


Choosing the Right Red Light Therapy Device for Your Ankle

While you can definitely still visit a clinic to get your dose of red light therapy, it’s much easier to be able to do so at home - especially when you’re in the throes of post surgery.

For an at-home device, you’ll have to consider which will be best for you. There are red light panels and beds which have become a more accessible option over time, but these struggle when it comes to providing targeted support.

Instead, consider the use of a device that can be attached around your ankle. Not only will the area that needs it most be focused on, but you can go about your daily tasks while the light is working.

At Kineon, the Move+ Pro is completely wireless and portable. When purchased, you’ll receive a manual with all the guidance you need to get started. But our assistance doesn’t end there.


We have numerous resources on our website and social channels and we also run a private Facebook group for people worldwide to support others on their individual road to recovery.


Duration and Frequency


For best results, we recommend that you use the device for at least 10-15 minutes every day while lying down or sitting comfortably, either before or after you perform your other physical therapy exercises.

Try and make a habit of it like using the red light therapy device whenever you stream your favorite show. Or simply pick a time that works best for your schedule and use it every day for four to six weeks for the best results.


The Importance of Consistency

Red light therapy isn’t laden with all the nasty side effects that some other pain treatments can bring, so you can be consistent and use the device daily.

We always say that regular short sessions (of around 10 - 20 minutes) are much better than a one-off 45 minute treatment every few weeks.

Using an at-home device every day or between three to five days a week will give you the optimum effect as being consistent with RLT is when you’ll feel the benefits the most.


When to Avoid Red Light Therapy

If you have any open wounds after ankle surgery, you should consult with your doctor about the best next steps for you. Red light has been found to heal open wounds, but you should proceed with caution at this stage unless you’ve had the go-ahead from your doctor. Open wounds shouldn’t be disrupted.

You should always speak with a medical professional about the post-treatment plan and what they advise for your recovery. They will be able to point you in the right direction and give you the green light to begin red light therapy. They should also provide you with some light exercises and stretches that you can do alongside RLT.

People with photosensitizing medical conditions or anyone taking a photo-sensitizing drug should avoid RLT too or ask for advice from their healthcare provider.

A graphic image that has this text, "Join the Kineon Community." This encourages viewers to join the facebook group with over 3,000 people to know more about reducing joint pain, inflammation, and more with red light therapy.

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Chris Marshall

Chris Marshall

Job Title: Health and Fitness Content Writer
Location: United Kingdom
Bio: Chris Marshall is an experienced health and fitness writer with a passion to empower others to achieve better health and well-being through meaningful lifestyle changes.

With a background in nutrition and fitness, Chris aims to deliver science-based, informative content to educate others.

Alongside health and fitness writing, he also works with private online clients to build positive lifestyle habits and improve their overall well-being.

About Kineon

Bringing the latest advancements in enhanced red light therapy for home use. Our mission is to get you back on your feet and moving pain-free.

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