Lasers have had an interesting shift in perspective over the years. There was a time after they were introduced when we treated them as these powerful weapons, having our movies firing them in space and at secret agents.
Nowadays, we don’t seem so in awe of lasers. We point much more harmless versions at our cats for fun!
Lasers are still very useful and potentially powerful tools when used in certain ways, however. One such way, believe it or not, is for the treatment of heel pain.
How Laser Therapy Works for Foot and Heel Pain
“Wait,” we can hear some of you say. “You want to fire a laser? At my feet?!”
Well, yes. In a nutshell, that’s how laser therapy for foot pain happens. The full procedure is more technical and less dramatic, though.
We do not work with the “Star Wars” style of laser, but neither is it as weak as a cat toy. We use laser light at very specific frequencies that can penetrate into the site of pain without causing any sort of burning or external damage.
When the light energy reaches the site of the pain—perhaps a case of plantar fasciitis—it will stimulate the area. This can cause several positive reactions:
- Damaged cells within the area may be stimulated to increase their repair efforts, or restart repair efforts that may have since flagged or stopped. This can make laser therapy an effective option even for sources of pain that have lasted for some time.
- Blood flow to the area is increased, which provides cells that are in recovery mode additional oxygen and healing factors for their job. You can think of it like a construction site getting a steady flow of building materials and free lunches.
- In some cases, circulation is not only increased, but new pathways for the tiniest blood vessels are created for even greater overall access.
- In addition to bringing increased nutrients to the site of an injury, blood can also carry more fluids away from the site, reducing swelling.
The ultimate goals of laser therapy are relief of pain (both acute or chronic), reduced inflammation, and a faster recovery time.
Quick and Easy Sessions
Laser treatment for foot and heel pain is rarely a one-time treatment. A course of treatment sessions is scheduled out over time, and the exact number would depend on factors such as the type of condition being treated and the severity of the pain.
However, these sessions are fast—typically about 15 to 30 minutes at a time—and require no preparation before or after the procedure. That means no medications, no fasting, and no having to get someone to drive you home afterward.
The treatment itself is also virtually painless. Some patients may feel an increased sensation of warmth in the area, but that tends to be all.
Most cases will take more than one treatment to achieve full results, and significant improvement is sometimes not felt after the first session. The good news, however, is that most cases do begin to feel some relief after the first time, and each successive treatment stacks the effects. In other words, a patient should feel better and better with each new appointment.
What Kinds of Conditions May Laser Therapy Treat?
Laser therapy is not the ideal form of treatment for every cause of foot and ankle pain. It tends to be most effective when soft tissue injuries are concerned, so it may be a consideration for conditions such as Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, and sprains—among others.
It may also be possible that a patient has a medical history or other conditions that do not make a course of laser treatment the best choice for them.
The best way to determine the best course of action is, of course, receiving a comprehensive evaluation of the problem. Foot pain may seem like a simple symptom, but it can arise from a myriad of different causes and factors. A complete diagnosis is key to determining the best recommendations for treating the problem.
Even if laser therapy is not considered as a viable option for relieving your pain, there are still many potential treatments that may be. From custom orthotics to physical therapy to steroid injections and more, there are so many ways that pain can be treated without surgery.
And, in the case that surgery really is the best reasonable option for treatment (and this is very rare), we fully discuss all your surgical options with you. We never want a patient to choose such an important path forward without having all their questions answered.
Real Technology for Real Pain Relief
Laser therapy is not science fiction. It’s very real, and it’s one of many options we have at Total Foot & Ankle to help patients find the relief they deserve.
Whether your pain has recently developed or has been ongoing for months or years, do not believe there is nothing that can help you. The vast majority of heel and foot pain can be significantly improved at the very least, and altogether eradicated at best!Call our Enid office at (580) 237-3338 to schedule an appointment with us. If you prefer to reach us electronically, fill out our online contact form