Cryotherapy for plantar fasciitis and nerve pain

Updated 10/4/2022
Cryotherapy Los Angeles, Mortons Neuroma Treatment Options

What is cryotherapy ablation?

Cryotherapy (also known as cryosurgery, cryoablation, cold therapy, or cryo) is a state-of-the-art treatment that uses extremely low-temperatures to painlessly destroy nerve tissue. Cryotherapy nerve blocks stop the transmission of pain signals to the brain and relieve pain.


Ultrasound-guided cryosurgery is similar to radiofrequency ablation — which uses radio waves to create heat and break down nerves. However, cryoablation differs from radiofrequency ablation in that cryo pain relief is often faster.



What foot conditions does cryotherapy ablation treat? 

Cryotherapy ablation is one of the most effective treatment options for several painful medical conditions of the foot, including plantar fibroma, plantar fascia, and Morton’s neuroma


Patients experiencing foot pain from fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis can also benefit from cryoablation.


Using extreme cold temperatures, we destroy targeted nerves so they can no longer send pain signals to the brain. Through a rapid and limited deep-freezing of the affected area, the chronic pain that the nerve or fascia pain causes is resolved with a simple and comfortable office procedure. 


How does cryotherapy work?

If you’ve ever used an ice pack on an injury, you’ve technically tried a type of cryotherapy! 


Cryotherapy ablation is a more extreme treatment for more advanced pain. Cryoablation shrinks and destroys fibers in the targeted peripheral nerves, which reduces or stops the conduction and excitability of the nerve. A tiny ice ball on the end of the cryoprobe destroys damaged nerve fibers, blocking pain signals and allowing healthy sensory nerve regeneration.


The long-term effects of cryotherapy can stop future irritation and inflammation of the nerve.


At UFAI, this ultrasound-guided procedure is combined with a nerve stimulator to increase the accuracy of the probe placement and the success of the overall procedure.


What to expect during the procedure? 

Cryosurgery is a minimally-invasive modality that is relatively painless. You may feel a slight pinch from the needle when the local anesthetic is injected, but after that, you shouldn’t feel much more than light pressure during the surgery. A small incision is made, and the cryoprobe is inserted into the foot.


The cryoprobe procedure will only take a few minutes.


Sometimes the procedure does not fully treat the nerve pain on the first attempt, and a second or third treatment may be necessary.


Most patients find that after two (or three) treatments, their pain is significantly less or gone. In the rare case that cryoablation has little effect after two or three months, we may need to use a different ultrasound-guided ablation procedure.


Another major upside to this procedure is we don’t “burn any bridges,” in other words, we can easily remove the damaged nerve if this procedure does not work. 


What to expect after cryotherapy ablation? 

After cryotherapy ablation, it is normal to experience numbness, swelling, or bruising. Some people may also experience a tingling or “pins and needles” sensation. These side effects are usually temporary and should resolve within a few days. In very rare cases, more serious side effects may occur, such as nerve damage or skin injury. If you experience any of these side effects, please contact your doctor.


Are there risks with cryotherapy?

Side effects are rare but can include short-term bruising, infection, or frostbite at the insertion area of the probe. You may also feel a small lump in your foot at the procedure site. This generally goes away within three to six months and does not cause pain.


Virtually all patients who have had cryoablation have maintained full motor function with no inappropriate loss of sensation If patients are unlucky enough to experience a return of Morton’s neuroma symptoms, the cryoablation procedure can simply be repeated, or other non-surgical treatments can be performed.


Why trust University Foot and Ankle Institute for cryotherapy ablation? 

You can trust physicians at the University Foot and Ankle Institute to accurately assess your condition and provide one or several cryotherapy treatments. We are regarded as the premier group of foot and ankle specialists in Southern California.


We realize that you rely on our decades of combined experience to develop effective foot and ankle therapies that return the joy of activity, whether it is all-out sports or simply a stroll around the park. However, we also understand when advanced therapies may likely be an ineffective and poor use of your health care dollars.


If you’re suffering from foot or ankle pain and have not gotten adequate pain management, please contact us today to set up an appointment for a consultation.

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