Cryotherapy for plantar fasciitis and nerve pain (Morton's neuroma)

Updated 4/22/2024
Cryotherapy Los Angeles, Mortons Neuroma Treatment Options

What is cryotherapy ablation?

Cryotherapy (also known as cryosurgery or cryoablation) 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.

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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 fasciitis, heel spurs, and Morton’s neuroma

 

Ablation may be used for chronic back pain, as well as neck, shoulder, and knee pain.

 

How does cryotherapy work?

Cryoablation shrinks and destroys fibers in targeted peripheral nerves to reduce or stop 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.

 

In short: extremely cold temperatures 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 caused by the nerve is resolved with a simple and comfortable office procedure. 

 

In the long term, cryotherapy nerve ablation can stop future irritation and inflammation of the nerve.

 

At University Foot & Ankle Institute, this ultrasound-guided non-surgical 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 cryotherapy nerve ablation?

Cryosurgery is a minimally invasive and relatively painless modality. 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 procedure only takes 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 completely 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 be repeated, or other non-surgical treatments can be used.

 

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 interventions. 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 and would like to schedule a consultation,  please call (855) 872-5249 or make an appointment now.

 

Our physicians and healthcare providers are internationally recognized foot and ankle specialists. They use the latest technologies and treatment options available in a comfortable and family-friendly environment.

 

University Foot and Ankle Institute medical centers are conveniently located throughout Southern California with podiatry clinics in (or near) Santa Monica (on Wilshire Blvd.), Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, and the San Fernando Valley, Manhattan Beach, and the South Bay, LAX, Westlake Village, Valencia, Santa Clarita, and Santa Barbara

 

Cryotherapy FAQs

 

What type of sedation is used during nerve ablation?

Local anesthesia is the most common type of sedation for foot nerve ablation. The area around the nerve to be ablated is numbed with a local anesthetic, ensuring the patient feels no pain during the procedure. The patient remains awake and alert.

 

What happens if nerve ablation doesn't work? 

In some cases, a repeat ablation might be suggested. Some nerves can regenerate over time, or the initial ablation might not have fully encompassed the targeted nerve.

 

What is the success rate of cryotherapy for Morton's neuroma?

Research indicates that cryotherapy can significantly reduce pain for those suffering from Morton's neuroma. The success rates reported in various studies typically range between 70% and 90%. Patients often experience relief from pain and improvement in foot function after undergoing this treatment.

 

 

Sources

Green CR, de Rosayro AM, Tait AR. The role of cryoanalgesia for chronic thoracic pain: results of a long-term follow up. J Natl Med Assoc. 2002 Aug;94(8):716–20.

 

Moore W, Kolnick D, Tan J, Yu HS. CT Guided Percutaneous Cryoneurolysis for Post Thoracotomy Pain Syndrome. Academic Radiology. Elsevier Ltd. 2010 May 1;17(5):603–6.

 

Ball RD. The science of conventional and water-cooled monopolar lumbar radiofrequency rhizotomy: an electrical engineering point of view. Pain Physician. 2014;17(2):E175–E211. doi: 10.36076/ppj.2014/17/E175.

 

Byas-Smith MG, Gulati A. Ultrasound-Guided Intercostal Nerve Cryoablation. Anesthesia & Analgesia. 2006 Oct;103(4):1033–5.

 

Allaf ME, Varkarakis IM, Bhayani SB, Inagaki T, Kavoussi LR, Solomon SB. Pain Control Requirements for Percutaneous Ablation of Renal Tumors: Cryoablation versus Radiofrequency Ablation--Initial Observations. Radiology. 2005 Aug 26;237(1):366–70.

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