Running and athletics are beneficial for the health and well-being of most individuals, but they also come with risks. For example, many athletes and runners develop Achilles tendonitis as they age. This condition is painful and uncomfortable. And the soreness involved may reduce an individual’s ability to exercise. Most often, rest, ice, and over-the-counter medications are common suggestions to treat Achilles tendonitis. These generally positively affect the condition, but they may not be enough. A newer form of therapy, laser treatment, may be a good option for many individuals.
How Does Laser Treatment Help Achilles Tendonitis?
When the Achilles tendon becomes overused, it becomes inflamed and sore. For individuals who abruptly start an exercise routine or who significantly increase their exercise schedules without working up to the new levels, the tendons in the feet especially can become overused and inflamed. In more severe cases, this ligament, which connects the heel to the leg, may even develop small tears. If the Achilles tendon ruptures, it requires surgery and a long rehab process to heal.
For an inflamed Achilles tendon (like other tendons that become inflamed), laser therapy can significantly improve the healing time required to rehab an injury. Studies done to test the effectiveness of laser treatment have shown that laser therapy speeds up the healing process significantly.
How Does Laser Therapy Work?
Achilles tendons and similar ligaments and tendons are “white” muscles, which do not have a large flow of red blood cells. Laser therapy activates the tendon, calling for increased blood flow and speeding up the healing process. Studies have found that when laser treatment is used to treat Achilles tendonitis and similar injuries, the amount of collagen in the healed muscle is measurably higher.
A doctor who uses laser therapy to treat Achilles tendonitis will perform the treatment in a relatively short amount of time, over multiple treatments. A specialized laser is pointed at the muscle, with non-thermal (no heat) photon (light) particles aimed at the inflamed muscle. Generally, this therapy is considered relaxing, and there is no downtime after the treatment. Individuals can return to normal activities after the laser appointment.
Are There Other Alternatives to Laser Treatment?
Laser therapy is highly effective for treating Achilles tendonitis and is used by many major sports franchises to help inflamed tendons and ligaments heal quickly. If you are looking for an at-home treatment for Achilles tendonitis, the four most common suggestions are as follows:
- Rest – Staying off your feet is one of the best ways to let your ankle heal. Once a tendon has been injured, the more you walk on it, the more injured it becomes. If the average person walks 5,000 steps per day and the tendon is micro injured in each step, the tendon becomes chronically strained or inflamed.
- Ice – Using a cold compress on the injury can reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Elevation – Raising the foot on a small stool or otherwise elevating it can increase blood flow, helping to heal the tendon faster.
- Compression – A tight sock or brace can help restrict movement in the ankle and allow the tendon to rest.
If you feel pain in your Achilles tendon (located on the back of the ankle) or believe you may have Achilles tendonitis, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist. Best Foot Doctor in NYC serviced Queens, Brooklyn, and the surrounding areas. We would be happy to help you form a treatment plan that includes laser therapy to help you heal.