PodiaTherm Offers New Treatments for Heel Pain

We're committed to using the latest technology to treat your health. We are proud to offer PodiaTherm's Radio Frequency Generator to treat heel pain.

Conservative modalities reportedly resolve the majority of heel pain complaints; however, heel pain comes in many forms: plantar fasciitis, Baxter's neuritis, tarsal tunnel syndrome, calcaneal apophysitis, Achilles tendonitis, bursitis, calcaneal stress fractures and contusions. Typically, it is a combination of these that causes pain and discomfort in the foot. Diabetes, arthritis, weight gain, injuries, previous heel surgery and other medical conditions are known contributing factors.  When people live with pain on a daily basis, they have difficulty performing simple daily activities. Some have difficulty sleeping or simply walking. In addition, patients are unable to remain off from their jobs for long periods of time and are often involved in jobs that require standing and walking.  Additionally, active patients are eager to return to exercise and activities.[1]

Using the PodiaTherm pain management system, physicians, can now relieve acute and chronic pain and other related nerve pain in the foot through the application of radiofrequency energy to nervous tissue. 

Dr. Craig H. Thomajan DPM, FACFAS DPM of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists, utilizes PodiaThermTM as its radiofrequency generator. PodiaThermTM is an effective pain relief modality that uses radiofrequency (RF) current to create temperatures for ablation of the nerves that provide sensation to the heel.   While this treatment is relatively new for foot pain, physicians have utilized radiofrequency for pain relief which dates as far back as the 1930s.[2]

Dr. Craig H. Thomajan DPM, FACFAS DPM utilizes the PodiaThermTM in the treatment of peripheral nerve neurolysis to treat inferior heel pain, and chronic pain associated with plantar fasciitis and Morton's Neuroma. 

Patient inclusion criteria are dependent upon a few factors:

  • Pain duration of at least 3 months
  • Unresponsiveness to conservative therapies
  • Willingness of the patient to actively participate

Patient exclusion criteria are dependent upon a few factors as well:

  • If you are on a blood thinning medication (e.g. Coumadin®, Plavix®)
  • Infection overlying the entry areas
  • Unresponsive to local anesthetic blocks
  • Vascular disease or dysfunction
  • Heavy tobacco use

Radio Frequency Management
The doctor uses a microelectrode to stimulate various areas of the foot to help identify the best treatment point. After locating the site which will produce the most pain relief, the doctor heats the nerve tissue at the target point with a small radio frequency current. Radiofrequency lesioning is a safe, proven means of treating chronic pain. Continuous radiofrequency current is used to heat a small volume of nerve tissue, thereby disrupting pain signals from that specific area. This procedure has a selective effect on nerve fibers, reducing pain in target areas, but leaving other sensory capabilities intact. Only the nerve that is causing pain will be affected by RF therapy. Patients can return to normal activity almost immediately; and most people report long-lasting results, with pain signals blocked for a prolonged periods of time.

It has been reported that 15% of all adult patients visiting a podiatrist present with a chief complaint of heel pain. Radiofrequency therapy, pertaining to chronic foot pain, can manifest itself in several areas within the foot, not just the heel. Radiofrequency therapy will use radiofrequency energy to disrupt nerve function. When this treatment is preformed, the nerve can no longer transmit pain from the treatment site. It is very difficult to predict if the procedure will indeed help you or not. Generally speaking, the patients who have responded to repeated local anesthetic blocks will have better results. Published studies have reported radiofrequency lesioning relieved pain in 92% of patients using this treatment. [3]

Please call Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists at 512.328.8900 for your comprehensive lower extremity consultation, evaluation, and management.

[#1] Podiatry Today. November 2007.

[#2] Hammer, Michael; Meneese, William: Principles and Practice of Radiofrequency Neurolysis.

[#3] The Journal of Foot & Ankle Surgery 36(3):215-519, 1997).

Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
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Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists