Cryosurgery treats foot pain by using very cold temperatures.
Millions of Americans are troubled by chronic heel pain and other debilitating foot ailments, such as plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, and neuropathy. An age-old treatment that uses freezing cold temperatures to manage pain — cryotherapy — is gaining popularity in podiatric medicine and offering new hope for sufferers looking for a permanent fix for their foot pain, says the American Podiatric Medical Association.
One type of cryotherapy, called cryosurgery, treats foot pain by using very cold temperatures — sometimes as low as -94°F — to freeze problem tissue during a quick, minimally invasive surgical procedure. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia using a tiny incision that does not require stitches. A probe is used to freeze tissue in a 15- to 30-minute office procedure.
A 2007 study in the Journal of Foot & Ankle Surgery concluded that cryosurgery offers a highly effective treatment for plantar fasciitis without performing open, invasive outpatient surgery.
According to Dr. Brent Rubin, a podiatrist in Bradenton, Fla., who has performed cryosurgery on more than 150 patients, 90% of his post-operative patients reported either complete elimination or a large reduction in their chronic foot pain. “The wonderful thing about cryosurgery is that it doesn’t kill the nerve permanently. Nerve conduction regenerates six months to a year after surgery, which gives the patient’s foot time to heal appropriately,” says Dr. Rubin, adding that after the patient’s foot is fully healed, the pain should never return again.