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If you love playing sports, you know that with the increase in activity comes an increased risk of sports injuries in your feet and lower legs. Ankle sprains, pulled muscles, and fractures can happen in an instant from a collision with another soccer player or a football tackle. Micro-tears in a tendon, inflammation of a bursa, and stress fractures can occur over time from repetitive motion like running or playing tennis every day. The good news is that laser therapy is not just something used by professional athletes to get them back in the game sooner; it is also available to help you heal when injury strikes.

How Does Cold Laser Work?

The device we use sends specific wavelengths of red or near infrared light right to the affected tissue. These wavelengths are non-thermal—there is no heat involved and no chance of burning the skin or other tissue. The light penetrates through the skin directly to the damaged cells. There it is absorbed by the mitochondria, which are the parts of the cell that use the glucose in your blood and transform it into adenosine triphosphate (ATP)—the form of energy used by cells for repair and growth.

Laser therapy stimulates these mitochondria, which speeds up the rate at which they release ATP into the cell. The cells take up this energy and begin to repair themselves and divide, healing the damage and creating strong new tissue. The advantage over other treatment methods is that you are merely stimulating your body’s own healing mechanisms, rather than introducing drugs or chemicals into your system, or using injections or surgery to try to relieve your symptoms.

What Injuries Can Benefit from Laser Treatment?

Most sports injuries that involve soft tissue damage can benefit from this treatment, but it is especially effective for tendon and ligament issues such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and ankle sprains. It can also work well on pulled muscles, bursitis, and even helps repair tiny cracks in your bones. There are four known benefits of this therapy:

  • Reduces inflammation – Damaged tissue becomes inflamed because your body sends extra blood to the area to increase the level of nutrients needed for healing. The tissue becomes engorged, red, and warm. As laser light waves speed up healing of the tissues, inflammation is reduced, and the tissues “calm down.”
  • Acts as an analgesic – Damaged tissue is painful in itself, but inflammation and swelling can also put pressure on surrounding tissue, increasing your discomfort. Laser therapy lessens pain by helping tissues to heal and also by reducing swelling and inflammation.
  • Promotes cell metabolism – By increasing the rate at which your cells regenerate and reproduce, light therapy can lessen your healing time and improve the condition of your tissues.
  • Increases antimicrobial activity – Cold laser enhances your immune function to keep infection at bay while your tissues are recovering.

Is Laser Therapy Safe?

Many studies have been conducted and continue to be performed that show that there are minimal side effects when cold laser treatments are given by trained professionals in the correct manner. Our staff has the training and expertise to administer these light treatments safely, and we follow all the protocols for the intensity, duration, and frequency of treatment.

There are some conditions for which this light therapy is not advised, such as the presence of cancer or lesions on the skin, or use on pregnant women or children. However, if you are struggling to recover from sports injuries, contact Axis Foot & Ankle Clinic in Calgary, AB, to see if this treatment might help you heal more quickly. You can reach all three of our offices by calling (403) 477-3338 or requesting an appointment through our website. You can also keep up-to-date on the latest in information through our Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest boards, or on Google +. Let us be your go-to source for excellent foot care!

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