So you come into our office with foot pain or a fungal infection, and we focus certain light beams over the area, and you start feeling better. Sound like the latest science fiction movie? Actually, sci-fi writers and fans love exploring new theories—some of which actually turn out to be true.
In recent years, the use of medical laser technology has improved dramatically. Two important ways that we are already using laser treatment to help patients at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona are:
- MLS laser therapy for treating pain, inflammation, swelling, and other foot and ankle injuries.
- Laser therapy to eliminate toenail fungus
MLS Laser Therapy for Foot and Ankle Pain
How MLS Laser Works
The device uses wavelengths of light in two specific ranges—808 nanometers (nm) to reduce swelling and inflammation, and 905 nm to relieve pain. Combining the two makes each more effective than it could be on its own. At the same time, the MLS synchronizes both steady and pulsed light beams, each with its own benefits. The device is moved over your skin in the affected area, and the laser beams penetrate to the damaged tissue layers and promote cell activity there.
The MLS is a culmination of improvements in laser technology over several decades. Earlier models were safe, but less effective at lower levels. There were followed by those that had more power, but came with more risks. This latest model now allows for such minute control of the energy, time, power, frequency, and duration of the light waves that it is both safe and effective. Laser treatment works on three main levels.
When the lasers penetrate your skin, they activate enzymes and increase the function of ATP molecules in your cells that allow for storage and use of energy. Cell metabolism is increased so they use nutrients and oxygen more efficiently. The result is faster cell growth and repairing of damaged tissues. This helps reduce pain more quickly than your body may do on its own.
The light beams excite the molecules in your cells, which helps to increase blood flow. This in turn increases the supply of nutrients and oxygen—the building blocks for cell repair and growth—to all the tissues in your body. When cells have what they need, they function better and you begin to heal.
MLS laser treatment works to accelerate the performance of your body’s circulatory system. The laser stimulates grown of tiny new blood vessels in areas that are damaged or have poor blood supply. It also increases the ability of your lymphatic system to resorb excess fluid and get rid of wastes. As a result, swelling and inflammation go down.
Conditions Lasers Can Treat
Most issues with pain, inflammation, and swelling can be helped with laser treatment. This includes foot and ankle conditions such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, neuromas (benign thickening of nerves), tarsal tunnel syndrome, and complications of diabetic feet, including neuropathy pain and healing of foot ulcers.
Advanced Laser Therapy for Fungal Nails
Toenails are surprisingly important. They help protect the ends of our toes from injury. However, when they become infected or damaged, they can change and become unsightly and even painful. Without proper treatment, they can get worse.
Laser therapy for fungal toenail infections is changing and improving the way physicians are remedying fungal nails.
Oral medications don’t work for everyone and often have serious side effects or interact negatively with other medicines you may be taking. Topical medications can kill the fungi on the surface of the skin and nails, but they can’t reach the stubborn microorganisms underneath.
The laser uses high-powered, focused beams of light that pass through the nail tissue to eradicate the source of the infection. This method has no post-procedure recovery time to keep you from your activities and no nasty side effects. Also, unlike medications which need months to kill the fungus, the laser takes care of the organisms in just a few treatments, allowing the healthy nail to grow back more quickly.