Everyone has experienced some type of physical pain in their life, including pain in the foot or ankle. For years the only treatment for foot pain was oral medications, icing, stretching, physical therapy, or even surgery. However, we now have new technology that can provide pain relief and thus prevent the need for many of the above-mentioned treatments. As “drug-free pain relief” becomes a more popular clinical goal across the country, there is a growing interest in a treatment modality that truly has the power to quickly and dramatically reduce and/or potentially eliminate pain and inflammation.
Photobiomodulation — also known as laser therapy — is the use of specific wavelengths of light (red and near-infrared) to create therapeutic effects including decreased pain. Laser therapy works by utilizing wavelengths to penetrate deeply into tissue and break up scar adhesions. By breaking up these scars within a tendon or ligament, we allow the white blood cells and acute inflammation cells to come back in and actively repair these problems. During each painless treatment, laser energy increases circulation, drawing water, oxygen, and nutrients to the damaged area. This creates an optimal healing environment that reduces inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain. As the injured area returns to normal, function is restored and pain is relieved.
Many people suffer from chronic pain due to “overuse” injuries, most commonly plantar fasciitis (heel pain). Tendon problems are also extremely common and can be difficult to treat with traditional methods due to the lack of blood flow to the tendons themselves. Because of how a tendon’s anatomy functions, when they are torn or stretched too much they take longer to heal. But laser therapy can be used to effectively break up the inflammation and tissues naturally without the use of medications or steroids. Laser therapy for pain is a treatment option to consider before deciding if several weeks of physical therapy might be needed to further repair the injured tendon or ligament.
The healing effects of laser therapy can be felt within the first treatment, but a series of treatments are recommended to ensure sustained and prolonged relief. Most pain requires 6 to 12 initial treatments, with two to three sessions per week. Your physician may recommend additional treatments based on your recovery.
Laser therapy for pain can help the following diagnoses:
• Achilles tendonitis
• General pain
• Plantar fasciitis
• Shin splints
• Tarsal tunnel
Laser therapy for pain is an effective alternative to other potentially harmful treatments including:
• Surgical procedures
• Steroid medications
• Oral anti-inflammatory medications
Laser therapy has no known side effects, is done in an office setting, and can be repeated several times for maximum benefit. It is a fast, effective, and virtually pain-free option to treat inflammation, chronic pain, and acute pain!
For help with any foot or ankle problem, you may contact Dr. Melissa Lockwood at 309-661-9975, or www.heartlandfootandankle.com. Her office is located at 10 Heartland Drive in Bloomington and she offers evening and weekend appointments.