Monday, December 31, 2007
Medical Reports: Healing for Heels
Millions of people struggle with intense chronic heel pain. Now there's a new procedure to relieve it using radio frequency. Seven's Richard Lemus shows us this Healing for Heels.
WSVN -- Debbie Warner spends a lot of time on her feet. When she's not on a walk with her dog, she's training for her next triathlon.
Debbie Warner: "I love it. I would do it for a living if I could, but I'm not that good."
Last year, intense heel pain stopped her in her tracks.
Debbie Warner: "At times, I didn't even want to go from my desk to the bathroom."
And she's not alone. Experts say up to 40 million Americans have heel pain.
Dr. Marlene Reid: "The band of tissue at the bottom of the foot gets inflamed, and it pulls, and it gets tight, and that causes pain."
Dr. Marlene Reid: "I've had patients that have told me they crawl. It's so painful to walk that they crawl."
Now Dr. Reid is healing heels with radio frequency energy.
Dr. Marlene Reid: "You go through the skin without actually opening it up, without actually doing an incision."
It's called the Topaz Procedure. After mapping out the target points in the heel, doctors deliver the radio-frequency energy with this wand. In less than 20 minutes, it breaks up scar tissue and increases blood flow, which promotes healing.
Marlene Reid: "The success rate so far is much greater than open-heel surgery."
After five months of intense pain, Debbie had the procedure done.
Debbie Warner: "It was pretty amazing that it worked pretty quickly."
She was able to finish her second iron man triathlon pain-free.
Debbie Warner: "I don't know what I would have done if I couldn't run again."
Richard Lemus: "The Topaz Procedures is covered by most insurance plans. Patients are generally back on their feet, pain-free, in two weeks."