Treating Heel Pain with Laser Therapy? Here’s How It Works!
One of the facts about treating heel pain that isn’t so obvious at first glance is that we must have a variety of treatment options available in order to achieve a consistently high success rate with our patients.
Why is that? Because heel pain does not come from just one source. If it developed the same way and affected everyone in the same manner, then we probably would have just one “standard” treatment that we could use for everyone. However, it just doesn’t work that way.
Different cases of heel pain require different approaches to treatment, and we always make recommendations based on what we believe will be best for your individual circumstances and needs. Possibilities can include stretching exercises, custom orthotics, changes to footwear…
…and yes, an advanced treatment such as laser therapy.
How Does Laser Therapy Work for Treating Heel Pain?
The idea of a laser being used for healing purposes might not make much sense at first, but this is not the type of metal-cutting laser you see in movies.
The laser we use is a medical device attuned to two very precise wavelengths (808 nm and 905 nm). It has the power and focus to reach areas beneath the skin, but without burning or damaging tissue in any way.
What the laser does do is cause certain beneficial reactions at the site of damaged or injured tissue. These include:
- Stimulating the repair response in cells within the area.
- Increasing the metabolism of cells in the area. In other words, they perform their tasks (including repairs) faster.
- Increasing blood flow to the area, supplying more growth factors, and other materials that cells need to conduct their repairs. Additionally, increased blood flow in means increased blood flow out, which can carry away excess fluid and reduce swelling.
- Triggering an increased immune response to the area to aid in protection from infection.
Ultimately, laser therapy is a form of regenerative medicine, supporting the body’s own natural healing responses to help recovery occur faster. That means getting back to comfort and action in a reduced amount of time compared to other forms of treatment.
What Types of Heel Pain is Laser Therapy Effective On?
Laser therapy has long been used to aid in the recovery of soft tissue injuries, especially in professional athletic circles. You certainly don’t need to be an athlete to benefit from its effects, however.
Since many cases of heel pain are the result of soft tissue strain and aggravation, laser therapy can have potential in many situations. We might consider it for:
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Achilles Tendinitis
Other various forms of strain and inflammation may be addressable via laser therapy, too. And since our laser is particularly powerful, it might also be considered for heel pain caused by damage to bone tissue, such as stress fractures.
What to Expect with Laser Therapy Treatment
Laser therapy is typically performed over several sessions spanning a period of several weeks. Each session will take about 15 minutes to complete.
During a session, the laser is attuned and applied to the area in need. You will not feel any pain during this process, although many patients report a sense of warmth. That is perfectly normal.
You do not need to worry about making any preparations before a session, or having to take care of any bandages or special instructions afterward. Once a session is finished, you are free to continue with your day completely as normal!
Since the treatment is working with the body’s natural processes, you should not expect full recovery immediately after the first session. However, many patients do report a noticeable improvement in their symptoms at this time, and results typically stack as we progress through the full course of sessions.
If you have any questions about laser therapy whatsoever, please don’t hesitate to ask us about them. We’re happy to fill you in on further details!
Is Laser Therapy Right for My Heel Pain?
The short answer to that is: it depends.
Remember earlier when we said there’s no one treatment for heel pain that’s effective on every single case? Well, laser therapy is not that treatment, either.
Laser therapy might be a fantastic option for treating your heel pain all in itself, but it also might not fit the specific circumstances of your condition. It also may not address the root cause of your heel pain to begin with. If we focus only on recovery, it leaves the door open for the same type of injury to happen again.
So once we conduct a thorough examination and understand the sources of your problem, we might recommend laser therapy on its own. We may also recommend it as part of an overall plan that includes custom orthotics or other means of treating the root causes of your heel pain. And, in still other cases, we might not recommend laser therapy at all.
Our ultimate goal will always be to provide you the best route to relief that meets your individual needs and the demands of your life. We not only want your heel pain gone, but to prevent it from coming back as well.