Lasers are used in many medical treatments to help promote the body’s natural healing responses, ramping up circulation and tissue regeneration to restore function in the feet and ankles, as well as other parts of the body.
At Michfoot Surgeons, we use the state-of-the-art MLS laser system, designed to provide more precise and effective delivery of laser energy, even in very small treatment areas. Laser treatments can be used for a wide range of foot- and ankle-related problems, including both acute and chronic conditions. Here are five of the most common foot- and ankle-related issues that studies have shown can be improved by laser treatments.
A neuroma (sometimes called a “nerve tumor”) is a thickening of the tissue surrounding a nerve. You can have neuromas in different areas of your foot, but they’re most common around the ball of your foot (called Morton’s neuroma), where excess pressure winds up irritating the nerve. Neuromas can cause burning pain and numbness locally and in areas served by the affected nerve. In a recent study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology, researchers found laser therapy resulted in “remodeling” of the irritated area and a significant reduction or elimination of painful symptoms.
The plantar fascia is a strong band of fibrous tissue that extends from your heel to the base of your toes, providing support for your arch and your midfoot while also helping your foot stay flexible and mobile. Plantar fasciitis occurs when this band becomes irritated and inflamed. Athletes whose feet take a lot of repetitive pounding are at an increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis, and so are people who spend a lot of time standing every day (especially if they’re overweight). Even if those situations don’t apply to you, your risk of developing plantar fasciitis will still increase as you get older and years of wear and tear start to take their toll. A recent meta-analysis (a study that evaluates the results of lots of other studies) found laser treatment can be very effective in reducing painful symptoms of plantar fasciitis, with results lasting for months after treatment.
Diabetic foot ulcers can be notoriously difficult to treat, and they’re a leading cause of foot and lower-limb amputations. Part of the problem with treating diabetic foot ulcers lies in changes in circulation that tend to become very common with diabetes. Since laser therapy can be very effective in restoring circulation and stimulating other healing processes from deep within the damaged tissues, it can be a good choice for many people suffering from hard-to-heal foot sores. In fact, a recent study in International Surgery Journal found that laser therapy improves healing responses, accelerating wound healing and controlling infection.
Arthritis is associated with joint degeneration, and while it’s a lot more common as you get older, it can also affect people who spend a lot of time on their feet, people who are overweight or obese, and athletes whose feet are subjected to a lot of repetitive impacts. Because laser therapy stimulates multiple avenues of healing, it can be a good option for many people suffering from chronic foot and ankle pain due to arthritis and other chronic pain problems. In fact, one recent five-year study found that laser therapy was very effective in reducing chronic foot and ankle pain, and the study also demonstrated that laser therapy can be used in conjunction with other therapies without any ill effects.
Tendons are strong bands of tissue that connect muscles and bones and help your foot and ankle move and stay flexible. Your feet and ankles contain lots of tendons, including the Achilles tendon, the largest tendon in the body. Overuse, traumatic injury, repetitive use, and wear and tear are all common causes of tendon-related pain. Thanks to its healing response mechanisms, laser therapy has been shown to be very effective in reducing pain and speeding healing of tendon tissue and surrounding inflammation. In this meta-analysis of patients with Achilles tendon damage, researchers determined laser therapy was effective in reducing pain and related symptoms while also helping the damaged tissue heal.
As a top podiatry practice in Southfield, Michfoot Surgeons can help you find relief for your painful symptoms. To learn more about laser therapy and other treatment options we offer or to find out what’s causing your foot or ankle pain, book an appointment online today.