How Can a Laser Treat Foot and Ankle Pain?
When most people think of the lasers that are in use today, they probably imagine industrial lasers used for cutting or welding steel, or maybe lasers that read data off a Blu-Ray disc—or those pointer lasers that drive your cat crazy.
But lasers that could actually make your heel pain go away, or help your ankle sprain heal faster? That’s still way off in the “Star Trek” future, right?
Wrong! Although we can’t wave a magic wand and make your pain go away in an instant, today’s laser therapies are already quite advanced, and can significantly accelerate the healing process so you feel better in days-to-weeks instead of weeks-to-months (or never).
And this happens without incisions, without drugs, and without pain or side effects. And we have it right here in our office!
Harnessing the Energy of Light for Cellular Benefit
While you might be used to thinking of lasers as beams that can cut steel or fend off enemy stormtroopers, not all lasers are destructive in nature.
If you remember your high school physics, you might also recall that light is a form of energy. And while excessive energy can be used destructively, it can also be harnessed for many beneficial purposes—like, say, powering the anti-inflammatory, tissue regeneration, growth, and healing processes within your cells!
With our MLS laser therapy system, there are actually two coordinated lasers in use—a longer-wavelength (905nm) pulsed laser primarily designed for pain relief, and a shorter-wavelength (808nm) continuous laser that rapidly reduces inflammation, as well as stimulates blood and lymphatic circulation (which triggers a whole host of other secondary healing effects).
By working together in coordination, the combined effect of the laser therapy is greater than what either laser could achieve independently.
Laser therapy, as noted is particularly effective in treating soft tissues—like tendons and ligaments—found in great abundance in the lower body. These soft tissues are commonly affected by injury and can become inflamed. The specific wavelengths of laser light used in the process can trigger anti-inflammatory responses in the cells, which is how the therapy is able to relieve pain and reduce swelling in the area.
But Does It Really Work?
It’s important to understand that no treatment, no matter how advanced, is 100% effective for every patient. But with that caveat out of the way, we can report that the results have been amazing overall. It’s not an exaggeration to say that over 90 percent of patients who undergo MLS laser therapy achieve up to 90 percent or better symptom relief.
For many people, laser therapy is the treatment that finally allows them to alleviate the chronic pain that has been with them for months or years, or keeps them out of surgery. It can also help cut the recovery time needed after an athletic injury by up to 40 percent or more when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
Laser therapy is particularly effective in treating soft tissues like tendons and ligaments. Examples of conditions we treat with it include:
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Achilles Tendinitis
- Ankle Sprains
- Muscle Strains
- Ulcers and Wounds
That said, laser therapy is just one of the many advanced procedures we offer and may not be the best choice for every case. We’ll always go over your options with you carefully to determine the best course of action.
What Is the Treatment Like?
As we stated earlier, laser treatment is painless, has no known side effects, and does not require any drugs or anesthesia. At most you might feel a very slight warming sensation.
The average session takes less than 15 minutes, with basically no prep or recovery time involved. We’ll use the laser over the area of tissue that’s currently experiencing pain, and the light energy will penetrate deep into the site of damaged tissues to do its work. After that, you can go straight home or to whatever else you had planned for the day.
The number of sessions required will vary depending on the nature of your pain. Many people report significant symptom improvement in as few as 1-2 treatment sessions. However, a “full” treatment course typically involves either 6 sessions (for acute conditions) or 12 sessions (for chronic conditions) spread out over a course of a few weeks, with 2-3 sessions per week.
Because the treatments stimulate healing (and not just mask pain) the results stack with each session—and they tend to last, too. So even if you’re still feeling some pain after a couple of sessions, you can feel confident that results should only get better and better as you continue the treatment course.
Shine the Light on Your Foot or Ankle Pain
We aren’t quite yet to the point where we can snap our fingers and take your pain away, but laser therapy is still an incredible piece of technology that can deliver exceptional, long-term pain relief results in a far shorter timespan than you may have ever thought possible!
For more information on laser therapy and how we use it in our office—or to request your appointment with us—simply give our office a call at (937) 435-7477 or click the button below.
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