Understanding Therapeutic Lasers and Their Uses

We all use acronyms to name and describe everything from organizations (APMA for American Podiatric Medical Association) to the colors of the rainbow (ROYGBIV=red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).

What you might not know is that when we talk about therapeutic laser for foot problems, we are actually referring to Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation—LASER. At Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston, we use forms of this therapy for several different conditions.

Laser therapyHow It Works

The principle behind the use of a laser is that focused light beams can treat medical conditions on the cellular level. The basic technological unit produces light beams of specific wave lengths and emits them through hand-held devices that can focus them specifically on the area being treated.

LLLT—another acronym meaning Low-Level Laser Therapy—uses wavelengths from about 600 – 1000 to bring about a biological response in your cells. It does not emit sound, heat or vibration, but the light induces a photochemical reaction (not exactly the same, but think of plants using sunlight to grow).

As the light is absorbed by the cells, it has three main effects: 1) analgesic, meaning it reduces pain, 2) anti-inflammatory, suppressing redness, swelling, and warmth in the tissue, and 3) bio-stimulatory, increasing the cells’ repair and growth functions to promote healing.

Other wavelengths and intensified laser beams are used in a different way to destroy cells by heating them so they vaporize.

What Laser Therapy Is Used For

Surgeons—and manufacturers, for that matter—use the more intense wavelengths to make precise cuts in everything from tumors to diamonds, and we at Parker Foot & Ankle use this type of light beam to treat problems like onychomycosis (fungal nails) by destroying the fungus without harming the nearby tissues.

Low-level laser therapy has other applications, however. It is emerging as a very effective treatment for nerve problems in the feet, as it relieves pain as well as regenerates the cells. This has great promise for treatment of neuropathy, which is becoming an increasing concern as diabetes is expected to reach epic proportions in the coming years. LLLT can also be used to treat diabetic ulcers by increasing the cells’ natural healing processes and wound healing.

Chronic heel pain is another condition that may benefit from laser treatment. Reducing pain and inflammation from plantar fasciitis while stimulating repair of the ligament that supports the arch are real benefits, especially when the treatment comes with no known side effects.

Excellent Podiatric Care from Our Houston Foot Doctor

Dr. Robert Parker pioneered the use of laser therapy to treat nail fungus in the Houston area, and continues to learn and develop the latest uses in the growing field of laser treatment for foot problems. We encourage you to contact our office and explore whether it may help you. Call Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston at (281) 497-2850 or schedule your appointment using our online form today. We’ll help you find relief from foot pain, inflammation and more, so you can enjoy life again.

You can also request our free book: When Your Heels Hurt...You Hurt All Over! It is full of useful information about your feet and ankles, and is yours with no obligation. Simply fill out this form to order your copy.

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