“Freezing” is not a word we use often in South Florida. But when it comes to treating certain foot problems such as plantar warts and nerve lesions, freezing is a word we use frequently here at JAWSpodiatry. That’s because of our use of cryotherapy, which involves the application of extreme cold to resolve troublesome foot issues. It is a safe, effective, non-invasive and painless treatment option which helps our patients get back on their feet quickly.
What is Cryotherapy?
Have you ever applied ice or a cold pack to a bruise or sprain? If so, you have used cryotherapy before. The concept of cryotherapy (cold therapy) for pain management has been around for thousands of years. Any sort of pain relief or treatment involving the application of cold to the skin is considered cryotherapy.
In the context of foot problems, the cryotherapy administered by a trained podiatrist is a bit more involved and the temperatures are more extreme than a bag of frozen peas applied to a muscle pull.
In a medical setting, cryotherapy refers to selectively destroying unwanted tissue (such as neuromas and warts) using extremely cold temperatures. The area to be treated is numbed with a local anesthetic such as lidocaine. A small incision is then made, and a small device called a cryoprobe is inserted. This precision device is a thin, gas-cooled tube that produces an “ice ball” of liquid nitrogen at its tip which can reach temperatures as low as -70 degrees Celsius.
How is Cryotherapy Used for Foot Problems?
There are two primary foot conditions which are particularly well-suited for cryotherapy treatment: plantar warts and foot nerve lesions – a condition called Morton’s neuroma.
Cryotherapy for Plantar Warts
Plantar warts grow on the soles or bottom of your feet and are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). A callus may build up over the wart as well and may become painful and cause difficulty walking. Cryotherapy treatment freezes and kills the tissue to eliminate warts on the feet. Because the liquid is extremely cold, we sometimes use a numbing agent to keep patients more comfortable. The freezing application takes just a few minutes and is applied use a probe, cotton swab or spray.
In order to make sure warts are completely destroyed and incapable of spreading, we require every patient to come in for a follow-up appointment. Most of the time, cryotherapy by itself is enough to eliminate the warts completely. In cases of recurrence, we also offer laser wart removal treatments as well.
Cryotherapy for Neuromas
Cryotherapy delivers a much-needed breakthrough for patients suffering from foot nerve lesions – a condition called Morton’s neuroma. Morton’s neuroma is a nerve disorder of the toes usually initiated by injury or excessive heel wear. Symptoms range from mild to severe, including pressure at the bottom of the foot, sharp pains, burning sensations or numbness.
We use cryotherapy to treat neuromas by freezing the small blood vessels which supply circulation to the nerves. This causes those nerves to stop transmitting pain and prevents the neuroma from growing. One of the advantages of cryotherapy treatment for neuromas is that only the nerves inside the neuroma are destroyed; patients should not notice any decrease in their ability to feel their feet.
Cryotherapy is an attractive option because it is less-invasive, more precise, and involves less recovery time than surgery. Determining whether cryotherapy is appropriate for your particular condition requires a consultation with an experienced podiatrist who can evaluate your condition and recommend the most effective treatment.
JAWS podiatry: Hollywood, Florida Foot and Ankle Specialists
The experienced and skilled podiatrists at JAWS podiatry in Hollywood, Florida can help you keep your feet healthy, and help you get back on your feet when problems arise. We are a growing group of exceptional professionals who offer the highest degree of care in a welcoming, comfortable environment.
To learn more about cryotherapy or to schedule a cryotherapy consultation, please contact JAWS podiatry at 954-922-7333.