How Laser Therapy Might Relieve Your Foot or Ankle Pain
Daily pain in the feet or ankles is not something anybody should feel they must endure on their own. No matter how long pain has been a factor, there is almost always a way to manage or eliminate it.
Sometimes the form of treatment is simple and conservative: rest, ice, stretching. For other cases, however, more advanced techniques might provide better results. One that we are proud to offer in several of our offices is Multiwave Locked System (MLS) laser therapy.
Wait. Lasers? For pain? That’s right! They’re not just for threatening secret agents and making Pink Floyd tributes. Lasers can also be used in very specific ways to promote pain relief and healing in the human body.
How Does Laser Therapy Work?
When it comes to MLS laser therapy, the benefits are not necessarily in the laser themselves, but in the way the body reacts to them.
The Multiwave Locked System uses very specific wavelengths of light that penetrate into an area of the body that has been damaged. This can have several effects:
- Blood flow to the area is increased. In fact, construction of the tiniest blood vessels within the area can be stimulated. This increased blood flow brings more oxygen and needed healing factors to the area, as well as helps carry away excess fluids that can cause swelling.
- Damaged cells are stimulated to accelerate repair and reproduction (and, with increased blood flow, have more of the tools they need to do so). This means injuries can not only heal faster, but stronger, as well.
- The body’s immune response can be stimulated, helping to reduce inflammation and risks of infection.
The treatment does not involve the use of drugs or preparation the night before. A typical session lasts around 15-20 minutes, is virtually painless (some patients will say they experienced a warming sensation in the treated area), and requires no recovery time. You are free to go on with your day as soon as the session is over.
What Can Laser Therapy Treat?
MLS laser therapy tends to be most effective when used on soft tissue injuries. This includes injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons—many of the parts that can be affected by overuse and sports injuries.
Foot and ankle conditions that may be treatable by MLS laser include, but are not limited to:
- Plantar Fasciitis, a very common cause of heel pain
- Achilles Tendinitis
If you have had chronic pain for some time, that does not necessarily mean that laser therapy is not for you. There are many cases where treatments have had a positive effect on these situations, encouraging healing where it had previously been lacking.
Additionally, laser therapy can be used to help accelerate the healing of wounds. This can be an especially important factor in the case of diabetic foot care, when wounds and injuries should ideally be healed as quickly as possible. It might also be recommended following a surgical procedure to aid in recovery and relieve general discomfort during that time.
Typically, laser therapy is conducted over multiple sessions. How many sessions will largely depend on the nature and severity of the condition being treated. While some problems might find full resolution within two or three treatments, others may require more. A dozen treatments is not out of the question.
The upside is that the benefits of the treatments tend to stack with each consecutive session. Many patients will report beginning to feel better after the first or second treatment, and this feeling will increase each time they undergo a session.
Is Laser Therapy the Best Option?
For some people, laser therapy would be our highest recommendation for treatment. However, that does not mean it is the best course of action for everybody.
Every case must be treated individually, and there may be factors that prohibit a patient from being a candidate for laser therapy.
It must also be considered that, while laser therapy can treat pain and inflammation, it may not take care of the original source of the problem. If heel pain is being caused by an abnormal foot structure, for example, laser therapy can treat the pain but soreness and injury may come back. The use of custom orthotics may be a better option for providing permanent relief.
The only way to know how to best proceed is by getting to the root of the problem. Our doctors will listen to your needs, conduct a thorough evaluation, and discuss all your options with you to help you make the best decisions for your course of action.
If you have an explicit interest in laser therapy, please note that this form of treatment is currently available only at our offices in Joliet, Orland Park, and Schaumburg (highlighted below).
- Joliet – (815) 553-0990
- Orland Park – (708) 460-8688
- Schaumburg – (847) 985-8380
- Chicago – (773)-736-FEET (3338)
- Waukegan – (847) 249-FEET (3338)
- Kenosha – (262) 652-6555
- Palatine – (847) 358-7005
We will still be happy to answer any questions you might have at any location, however, and will be happy to schedule an appointment at any office that is most convenient for you. If you prefer to contact us electronically instead, please fill out our online form and a member of our staff will reach out to you.