Millions of Americans complain of heel pain, which is usually caused by plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a condition in which the plantar fascia (ligament that runs from your heel to the toes) becomes inflamed. This condition can be very painful and cause a considerable amount of suffering.
According to podiatrists conditions such as stress fractures, tendonitis, arthritis and nerve irritation can also lead to heel pain.
Podiatric physicians recommend conservative treatments before considering surgery to relieve heel pain. These include stretching, the use of reusable hot and cold pads, shoe modifications, orthotics, over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and weight control as excessive weight is often a trigger for heel pain.
If the condition persists surgical treatment may be suggested which involves cutting of the ligament on the heel bone. Open or endoscopic plantar fascia release surgery (EPF) is often used; complications such as increased pain, nerve injury, fascial rupture and infection can occur. However, a new minimally invasive treatment has arrived that may be more desirable for patients.
The new procedure is called TOPAZ and takes around 20 minutes for a treatment. The procedure involves a doctor using a series of small punctures in key areas of the heel. A wand is inserted through the skin using these small puncture incisions and radiofrequency energy is submitted for one-half second treatments. This radiofrequency energy is delivered about one inch apart. The procedure is carried out under local anesthetic so you do not feel any pain.
Podiatrists claim that the radio frequency that is delivered to the heel helps remove diseased tissue and increases vascular supply which allows the plantar fascia to heal. The procedure acts as a healing boost and starts the recovery process.
Podiatrists in the USA have also stated that success rates are much higher than normal open heel surgery. It is minimally invasive which insures that patients recover much quicker, and reports suggest that patient satisfaction rates are considerably better than traditional open heel surgery.
The new TOPAZ procedure is approved by the FDA and is now available in San Antonio, TX. Dr. Ed Davis is a board certified podiatrist with offices in Live Oak (across from NE Methodist Hospital) and in north central San Antonio (Atrium Bldg. adjacent to North Central Baptist Hospital) where the procedures are available. He has over 25 years of experience in the treatment of heel pain and other foot and ankle problems.