High power laser: an effective treatment for Plantar Fasciitis

plantar fasciitis laser treatment

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain and is responsible for up to 10-15% of all foot or ankle complaints. The cause of plantar fasciitis varies, but it is thought to be a combination of dysfunctional lower limb biomechanics, over training and mechanical overload from excessive pronation, reduced ankle dorsiflexion and weak intrinsic musculature.

Treating plantar fasciitis can be frustrating as the healing process can be slow, and the pain associated with plantar fasciitis is often debilitating. Treatment protocols are aimed at offloading the affected area using heel lifts and orthotics, as well as strengthening and stretching the foot and ankle. 

However, pain is the most common reason people attend our clinic, and Performance Podiatry is fortunate enough to be able to offer some relief in this area. Performance Podiatry are proud to introduce a technology which can assist with pain, reduce swelling and speed up the healing process relating to plantar fasciitis. 

What is laser and how does it treat plantar fasciitis?

Photobiomodulation Therapy (PBM), also known as high-powered laser is a laser which targets inflammation, relieves pain and promotes tissue repair. It does this by increasing cell production, improving circulation and increasing collagen production. All of which are beneficial to improving return to activity and foot function in those afflicted with plantar fasciitis. 

When comparing the effect of high-powered laser to NSAIDs, such as nurofen, similarities exist within the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. High-powered laser naturally assists the body’s healing process by modifying inflammatory and pain markers, whereas NSAIDs block the inflammatory cascade.

The difference lies in their effects on tissue healing and repair. Whilst high-powered laser enhances soft tissue repair, NSAIDs have been shown to negatively impact tissue repair and can cause intrinsic muscle atrophy by diminishing cell proliferation and fibrosis in muscle tissues.  These are contributing components of chronic plantar fasciitis which should not be overlooked. 

How do we use laser to treat Plantar Fasciitis?

At Performance Podiatry high-powered laser can be used both as a solo treatment or in combination with shockwave for management of plantar fasciitis. Research indicates that superior outcomes in terms of reducing pain sensitivity and increasing foot function can be achieved when high-powered laser is used prior to shockwave within the same appointment. 

High-Powered Laser has been shown to reduce pain and improve foot function in patients with chronic plantar fasciitis as it assists with pain and inflammation during the initial healing process whilst promoting stronger and healthier soft tissue. It can be used in both acute and chronic plantar fascial injuries as well as across a number of other injuries.

Scroll down for references relating to this article. 

FURTHER READING


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Our highly qualified and experienced podiatrists are experts in biomechanics and it’s our philosophy that the finest foot care requires an entirely bespoke experience. That’s why we are dedicated to providing entirely tailor-made diagnosis and treatment services that are the best in Australia.

Our dynamic practice has a holistic approach to resolving foot complaints.

From assessment and diagnosis to extraordinary treatment, every step of your journey with us will deliver you the ultimate podiatric experience, resulting in healthier and happier feet.

Book a consultation with our podiatrists in Sydney (Macquarie St)Darlinghurst and Randwick to discuss your condition and we’ll get you pain-free and back to full function as smoothly and quickly as possible, so you can return to the activities and life you love.

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References:

  1. Dos Santos et al. Parameters and Effects of Photobiomodulation in Plantar Fasciitis: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review. Photobiomodulation, Photomedicine, and Laser Surgery, 2019, © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Pp. 1–9.
  2. Duchesne E, Dufresne S, Dumont N. Impact of Inflammation and Anti-inflammatory Modalities on Skeletal Muscle Healing: From Fundamental Research to the Clinic. Physical Therapy [serial online]. August 2017;97(8):807-817.
  3. Macias DM, Coughlin MJ, Zang K, et al. Low-level laser therapy at 635 nm for treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis: a placebo-controlled, randomized study. J Foot Ankle Surg 2015;54:768–772.
  4. MARTIN, RL, et al. Heel Pain—Plantar Fasciitis: Revision 2014 Clinical Practice Guidelines Linked to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health from the Orthopaedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2014;44(11):A1-A23.
  5. Rompe JD, Furia J, Weil L, Maffulli N. Shock wave therapy for chronic plantar fasciopathy. Br Med Bull 81:183–208, 2007.
  6. Takla, M.K.N., Rezk, S.S.RA. Clinical effectiveness of multi-wavelength photobiomodulation therapy as an adjunct to extracorporeal shock wave therapy in the management of plantar fasciitis: a randomized controlled trial. Lasers Med Sci 34, 583–593 (2019)
  7. Wang et al. Clinical efficacy of low-level laser therapy in plantar fasciitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (2019) 98:3.
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