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Infrared Healing For Foot Pain

July 01, 2021 7 min read

If foot pain strikes, is infrared technology beneficial?

 

 All pain is difficult to deal with but there is something about foot pain that is especially taxing. Foot pain is exhausting and difficult to ignore when trying to maintain an active lifestyle, when keeping up at work or even just getting the jobs done around the house! People often take their feet for granted until the day comes along when foot pain strikes. Suddenly, they are thinking about their foot pain constantly and making plans based on how their feet will be. They might be spending lots of money on new shoes and are seeing a podiatrist in the hopes that their pain will be reduced. Gone are the fancy shoes, suddenly favouring those sensible ugly shoes they laughed or cringed at not so long ago.


Foot pain is a serious topic. It can really hamper a life filled with fun and good health. There are many conditions and injuries that may cause foot pain. Luckily, regardless of the cause or diagnosed condition, red and infrared technology is a great tool to reduce the pain in a cost effective and drug-free way. Here are some examples of foot conditions and the research that supports infrared technology as an effective treatment.


Achilles tendonitis


The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body! It is the tendon that attaches the calf muscle to the heel of the foot. Tendonitis forms when there is inflammation occurring in it. This commonly happens in runners but it can happen when there is an increase of exercise, from not stretching the muscle or from ill-fitting shoes [1]. For people who experience this condition, they may see evidence of it as a tender bump on the back of their foot or a little higher up on the ankle, depending on the part of the tendon that is inflamed. Another sign of long-term tendonitis is called Haglund's deformity [2]. This deformity looks like a bony ridge on the back of the heel. This happens when the bone of the heel grows in response to the tension of the Achilles.


Studies show that infrared light technology with a variety of spectrums have been used to reduce inflammation successfully for tendonitis of the Achilles [3]. It does this by reducing the migration of inflammatory cells to the area to give better repair of tissues, improving the tendon strength and reducing stiffness [4].


Bone spurs


Bone spurs are also known as osteophytes. They are smooth bony growths that form near joints. It is a condition that forms over time. People who experience bone spurs usually have pain, stiffness and a reduction in their range of motion [5]. They are found commonly in people with osteoarthritis. When they form in the feet they usually occur in the heel, big toe or ankle [5].


Infrared at 850nm wavelength has been shown to improve all parameters of the Maryland Foot Score [16] in those who were experiencing heel spurs, meaning this can be an effective treatment for bone spurs [6]. It has also been shown to work much faster than acupuncture to get comparable, if not better, results [7].


Peripheral neuropathy


Peripheral neuropathy is a condition where the nerves that carry messages to/from the central nervous system and also from/to the rest of the body are damaged. This is known as the peripheral nervous system. This is what allows people to feel cold, pain, allows urination and muscle movement, for example. It is a vital system for body function. When there is neuropathy of the nerve it means there can be signals that don't get through, signals that get sent incorrectly or distortion of the signal [8]. The most common cause of this condition is diabetes which is not well controlled. It can also occur from injuries, blood supply issues, autoimmune conditions, kidney/liver disorders, nutritional deficiencies, chemotherapy or infections [8].


The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are varied depending on the nerves and body areas affected. When it comes to neuropathy of the feet, the symptoms are usually pain, burning sensation, tingling, stabbing, numbness, weakness, loss of feeling, weakness or a loss of balance [8].


Infrared technology has been shown to be effective for reducing pain, improving sensation, and increasing the balance of those experiencing neuropathy in the feet, especially that caused by diabetes [9]. One large scale study showed that sensation improved by 66% and pain was reduced by 67% - for those with neuropathy, this gives a huge increase to the quality of their life [10]!


Gout


Gout is a type of arthritis that is extremely painful with redness and swelling at the affected joint. It occurs when uric acid crystallises and gathers in the joint [12]. Attacks are often sudden and debilitating.


A study back in 2011 compared the effectiveness of Indomethachin, an NSAID medication used for pain relief in gout and arthritis, to using infrared technology in combination with acupuncture. The results were that 52% of people in the acupuncture/infrared group experienced a great deal of pain reduction. In the medication group, only 22% of people experienced pain relief and, unfortunately, their blood test showed a degree of liver damage whereas the infrared/acupuncture group did not [11].


Plantar fasciitis


The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that connects the toes to the heel. This firm band can be felt quite easily on the sole of the foot. When it becomes irritated it becomes inflamed causing pain, especially near the heel [17]. It can occur from wearing shoes without good support, from standing for long periods and is more common in people who are overweight. The pain is often felt first thing in the morning or when the person stands up from sitting for a period of time [17].


Using infrared technology for plantar fasciitis has been very well studied with 3865 studies as of 2019 [13]. A review of these studies shows that this technology improves the function of the foot and reduces pain levels of those with chronic plantar fasciitis. These studies used a variety of different wavelengths to produce these results. It has been shown to be safe, effective and easy to use [14].


Generalised foot pain


Everyone experiences foot pain at one time or another. A long day at work, wearing a pair of heels or a simple injury from tripping over rough ground, for example, can lead to foot pain. It doesn't mean there is an underlying condition but infrared technology is a simple treatment to help the pain and also encourage healing. By helping this type of foot pain to heal you can help prevent some of these previous conditions from occurring [15].


Studies have shown that infrared light can be used effectively for both chronic and acute foot pain, regardless of the cause. In the more generalised category of foot pain, it has been shown to improve foot pain up to 100% within hours of treatment [15]. Even better, these people found they had long-lasting pain relief, even up to months later! Many returned to exercising or wearing high heels! All this with no complications or discomfort from the treatment [15].


Addressing foot pain is an important action to make sure people have a long life full of vitality. Foot pain can be very debilitating so it is important to get a proper diagnosis and then to find relief  in a way that is safe, effective and easy to use. Science shows that a quality infrared tool can be exactly what people with foot pain need.



References


[1] Health Direct, Achilles Tendon Injuries, Australia Government, February, 2021 https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/achilles-tendon


[2] Raju Vaishya, Haglund’s Syndrome: A Commonly Seen Mysterious Condition, Cureus Publication, October 2017 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5101401/


[3] Adelmário Cavalcanti Nogueira, Júnior and Manoel de Jesus Moura Júnior, The effects of laser treatment in tendinopathy: a systematic review, Acta Ortopedica Brasileira Public, February 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4544521/


[4] Heliodora Leão Casalechi et. al., Analysis of the effect of phototherapy in model with traumatic Achilles tendon injury in rats, Lasers in Medical Science Journal, May 2014, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24186775/


[5] Bone Spurs (Osteophytes), Cleveland Clinic, December 2020, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10395-bone-spurs-osteophytes


[6] Cinar, E., et. al, The efficacy of low level laser therapy in the treatment of calcaneal spur, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, January, 2014 https://ard.bmj.com/content/71/Suppl_3/757.13


[7] Molina, A., et. al, Infrared laser vs. acupuncture in the treatment of heel spurs. Revista de la Sociedad Española del Dolor, March 2010, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317481879_Infrared_laser_vs_acupuncture_in_the_treatment_of_heel_spurs


[8] Peripheral Neuropathy Fact Sheet, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, August, 2018 https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Peripheral-Neuropathy-Fact-Sheet


[9] Tarek A. Ammar, Monochromatic Infrared Photo Energy in Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy", International Scholarly Research Notices publication, July 2012 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2012/484307/


[10] Harkless, L., et. al, Improved foot sensitivity and pain, reduction in patients with peripheral neuropathy after treatment with monochromatic infrared photo energy, Journal of diabetes and its complications, March 2006

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7272502_Improved_foot_sensitivity_and_pain_reduction_in_patients_with_peripheral_neuropathy_after_treatment_with_monochromatic_infrared_photo_energy_-_MIRE


[11] Zhou, L, et, al, Comparative observation of the efficacy on acute gouty arthritis between acupuncture combined with infrared irradiation and western medicine, Zhongguo Zhen Jiu publication, September, 2011, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21972623/


[12] Gout, The Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gout/symptoms-causes/syc-20372897


[13] Santos, S.A., et al, Parameters and Effects of Photobiomodulation in Plantar Fasciitis: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review, Photobiomodulation, Photomedicine, and Laser Surgery Publication, June 2019


[14] Reeboonlap, N., et.al., Outcome of plantar fasciitis treatment using monochrome infrared irradiation, Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, October 2012

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23451454/


[15] Everett M. Lautin, MD, FACR and Suzanne M. Levine, DPM. RPT, Unique Use of Near-Infrared Light Source to Treat Pain, Practical Pain Management Journal,

https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/unique-use-near-infrared-light-source-treat-pain


[16] Maryland Foot Score (MFS), Medical Data Models, https://medical-data-models.org/28877?lang=en


[17] Plantar fasciitis, Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/plantar-fasciitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354846


You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.