Laser therapy is a cutting-edge technology that we are proud to employ here at Sierra Foot & Ankle. It can deliver great results, but is it the right fit for your needs?
While we wish we could point a laser at every problem our patients are having and magically zap it away, the two different types of laser treatment we offer focus on particular conditions:
- Soft tissue pain and injuries
- Fungal toenail infections
When you come in to see us, we will conduct a thorough examination and explain all the options that might be available for your treatment. But let’s take a closer look at how laser treatment works for the conditions mentioned above.
Laser to Promote Healing
It might sound a bit odd at first to consider a laser as something that encourages healing. After all, Bond villains were never hoping James would feel better after pointing one at him!
But let’s set the movie tropes aside. A laser at its most basic level is a device that emits a highly concentrated beam of light. That light does not have to be strong enough to cut through anything.
When we use our Cutting Edge laser to treat pain, it operates at frequencies that penetrate into affected soft tissues and causes reactions at a cellular level. These reactions increase the cells’ ability to use oxygen effectively and work more efficiently in the body’s natural healing process.
Blood flow to the area is also increased, providing more of the healing factors needed for recovery. It can have great effects on reducing inflammation, as well!
Who might benefit from laser therapy for pain? People who have pain as a result of soft tissue injuries such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and the like can see benefits from this form of therapy. It was initially often used for athletes in the treatment of sports injuries, but has become more widespread over time.
Even if your pain is chronic, laser treatment can still provide results, with regular sessions! Acute pain tends to go away after one phase of treatments.
In both chronic and acute situations, effects such as pain relief and reduced swelling tend to be felt within 1-3 treatments. These effects tend to be cumulative as well, so the relief increases as the course of treatment continues.
In some cases, laser treatment may be considered as an alternative to a surgical procedure. For patients where surgery comes with increased risks, this incision-free option may prove helpful.
Laser Treatment for Fungal Toenails
If you have had toenail fungus for any period of time, you likely know how stubborn this infection can be.
The fungi responsible for causing thick, crumbly nails is very resilient and can hole up deep within a nail. That’s where the benefits of laser therapy shine.
Our PinPointe Foot Laser is able to penetrate within a nail to target the fungus while leaving healthy tissue undisturbed. When the fungus is eradicated, it will start to be replaced by new, healthy nail tissue as it grows in.
One PinPointe laser session takes about 30 minutes to complete. Most patients feel no pain from the procedure, and those who do report the feeling of a slight pinprick. In most cases, the area just feels warm.
More than one treatment is usually required to fully take care of the fungus.
Who might benefit from laser therapy for fungal toenails? Well, pretty much anyone who has fungal toenails is a prime candidate for this treatment!
The benefits of laser are clearer when considering other options for treatment. Topical ointments may be effective in some cases, but are not always able to penetrate as deeply as laser can.
Oral medications are another option, and one that works more “from the inside out.” However, the side effects of these medications can be less than favorable. Rashes, diarrhea, and even liver damage can be caused by oral antifungal medications, and some patients would need to have regular bloodwork during the course of taking them to monitor their liver health.
Laser treatment, on the other hand, has no side effects. Because it’s light!
All said, it’s fair to note that no form of fungal nail treatment has a 100% track record when it comes to getting rid of an infection. Some cases are just so stubborn and ingrained that nothing short of fully removing the toenail may get rid of the infection for good. The earlier an infection is identified and treatment begun, however, the better the odds of success!
Your Laser Therapy Center of Excellence
As one of the first practices in the region to adopt laser treatment technology, we have the expertise to effectively work with your foot and ankle concerns.
First, however, we need to determine whether laser or another in a line of conservative or surgical treatments may be best for your individual condition and needs. That involves an examination and a review of your medical history. After that, we will take the time to fully discuss all the options on the table so you can make an informed decision.
If you need help with pain, unsightly toenails, or any other podiatric problems, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (775) 783-8037. Our expert doctors, Victoria Melhuish and Sean Betesh, are here to help!