An Article Written By Cecilia Brennan
Podiatrist – New Step Podiatry.
With the introduction of medical laser at New Step Podiatry, we have been answering many questions related to this therapy. The blog article will answer many of the frequency asked questions to our podiatrists.
What is laser therapy?
Laser therapy is a physical therapy that converts light into biochemical energy to affect various biological processes in the body.
At New Step Podiatry we have a type of laser called Photobiomodulation (PBM Therapy) MLS (Multi-wave Locked System) medical laser which is a medical breakthrough therapeutic device with unparalleled applications and treatment outcomes.
What advantages does laser therapy have over other common treatments in healthcare?
It’s not drugs or surgery!
Traditionally, when there is swelling in an injury or painful region, oral NSAIDs (anti-inflammatories tablets) are commonly prescribed to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling. This treatment option has a few side effects including gastrointestinal upset and in some cases stomach ulcers. The medical laser at New Step Podiatry has little/no known side effects.
There are also painful, uncomfortable injection therapies such as cortisone injections for painful joint conditions. After these injections limited activity is recommended for a few days, this can be inconvenient. The medical laser device at New Step Podiatry is painless and you can return to your daily living activities afterwards.
PBM Therapy is about healing. It’s not about masking or covering up a condition. In the long term, when you feel better from this therapy … it’s because you are better. Therefore, results have been found to be quite long lasting.
There are so many lasers out there, why did New Step Podiatry select this PBM device?
– Two wavelengths; we have a Multi-wave Locked System (MLS) laser therapy device which has both a continuous and pulsed emission system. Both wavelengths are synchronised and combined which increases the effects of each wavelength.
Wavelength 1: continuous laser at 808 nanometres – reduces inflammation and swelling.
Wavelength 2: pulsed laser at 905 nanometres – reaches deeper into tissues for pain relief and healing.
– Faster treatment times; two waveforms and the robot arm means an even dose of light over the treatment area improving treatment outcomes and times.
– Reduced number of applications; due to the robot arm and MLS, fewer sessions are required compared to low level light therapy and class IV devices.
– It’s excellent at swelling reduction; so many of our patients have swelling that contribute to delayed healing. By first addressing swelling we are seeing fast results. The MLS is heavily targeted at the pain-inflammation-oedema/swelling triad.
– Safety; the robot arm provides a consistent light energy over the treatment area to prevents thermal/heat damage which is more likely to occur with high power lasers.
Our medical laser is in the goldilocks zone; it’s powerful enough induce different biological and systemic effects but not too strong to over-heat the area.
An energetic synergy is created when delivering the 2 wavelengths together to produce fast and lasting results. This distinguishes our PBM therapy device over other class IV lasers on the market.
How does PBM Therapy work?
PBM therapy applies red and near infra-red light over injuries. The laser beam first impinges the skin so that light energy (photons) enters the tissues to induce different biological and systemic effects including:
– An anti-oedema effect as it causes vasodilation, but also because it activates the lymphatic drainage system which drains swollen areas caused by bruising or inflammation.
– An analgesic effect by blocking pain transmitted by nerve cells to the brain. By also treating inflammation, there is less swelling and therefore less pain.
– An increase in the formation of new capillaries in damaged tissue, which speeds up the healing process, closes wounds quickly and reduces scar tissue.
– An accelerated tissue repair process and cell growth by increasing the energy available to the tissue cells so that the cells can take on nutrients faster and get rid of waste products.
– A stimulation to fibroblast development in damaged tissue. Fibroblasts are the building blocks of collagen, an essential protein required to replace old tissue or to repair tissue injuries.
Ultimately the action of PBM therapy is an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-swelling, healing and regenerative action.
What conditions that PBM Therapy can manage?
- Plantar fasciitis
- Sports Injuries e.g. shin splints
- Ligament injuries
- Joint and muscle pain (ankle, knee, hip)
- Muscular contractions
- Tears and strains
- Oedema/swelling and hematomas
- Ulcers, sores, and wounds
- Post joint surgeries
What should I expect in my treatment?
There is little or no sensation during treatment. PBM is non-invasive and non-painful, and it can be applied daily for all pathologies where pain, inflammation, oedema, wounds and ulcers are present. A notable reduction of symptoms in the first session often occurs.
There is a fully robotic arm which is placed 20 cm above the skin allowing the healing energy to penetrate tissue.
Treatment times range from 10 – 20 minutes depending on your condition and size of area being treated.
Check out our latest PBM Therapy reel below.
How many treatments do I need?
A treatment cycle can include from 2 – 15 sessions, according to the gravity of the pathology.
Acute pathologies generally require fewer treatments sessions (from 2 to 8), while chronic pathologies instead require a higher number (from 8 to 15).
The exception comes in the form of skin wounds that need to be treated until the wound has completely healed.
What health considerations need to be taken?
– Certain regions of the body can’t have PBM therapy including the eye and periocular area, sympathetic ganglia and valgus nerve, thyroid or carotid sinus region.
– Also areas injected with steroids in the past 2-3 weeks or with active haemorrhage/bruising or areas of suspicious, potentially or known cancerous tissue should be avoided.
– The gestational uterus and thoracic area if the patient has a pacemaker must be avoided.
– Skin infections, certain skin diseases should be assessed and tattoos, even those removed should be avoided.
– Care must be taken when treating people with diabetes, people with a dark skin colour and young people with growth plates still forming (bone growth must be complete).
Can laser therapy be used over medical implants or over metal?
Yes, laser therapy is a light treatment. No heating is involved with the surgical or metal implants. It can be used safely with no side effects. It is extremely effective for post-operative wound healing.
How can I ensure I get great results?
Continue to follow the treatment plan from your podiatrist, physiotherapist, massage therapist, chiropractor etc. This will likely involve exercise therapy such as strengthening and appropriate footwear, load management, weight management and activity modification. When combined with these therapies, results are improved.
How do I know if laser therapy is right for me?
One of our podiatrists can assess if you are a candidate for PBM therapy. We will evaluate your condition and if required correspond with other medical professionals e.g. orthopaedic surgeon post-surgery.
Click here to book online or call 61984818