Medical Services

Peripheral Neuropathy & Foot Pain

Peripheral Neurology and Foot Pain

Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is having an impact on chronic pain in the feet, including promising results for people suffering from peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy often say it feels like they are wearing a tight sock even when barefoot. According to the Neuropathy Association, a national non-profit organization serving the peripheral neuropathy community, "Peripheral Neuropathy is one of the most common chronic diseases in the U.S….over 20 million Americans have it…Peripheral neuropathy or ‘nerve damage’ disrupts the body’s ability to communicate with its muscles, skin, joints, or internal organs. [It] can be compared to the body’s electrical wiring system breaking down, causing numbness, pain, weakness and poor coordination."

"Historically, care for this condition has been directed toward controlling pain," says Dr. Kerry Zang. These treatments include the use of antidepressants and pain medication and have side effects that must be monitored. "This approach does not address the underlying problem of ischemia (reduced blood flow) and nerve degeneration, " explains Dr. Zang. Recently, Zang and his colleagues Janna Kroleski, DPM, Shahram Askari, DPM, and Sanford Kaner, DPM, presented a paper in Podiatry Today Online with preliminary findings of the impact of LLLT for small fiber neuropathy, a form of peripheral neuropathy. They found, "Patients are reporting a decrease in their neuropathy symptoms and, in some cases, are regenerating the small fiber nerves in the epidermis."

In general, laser therapy increases the body’s ability to heal. The light penetrates deep into the tissue and stimulates cellular activity without generating heat that damages structures. This results in an increase in blood flow and initiates the healing process. Zang explains, "LLLT uses low intensity photonic energy to excite the body’s cells infusing them with energy." This causes the body to react in several ways. "Laser energy has the potential to reduce inflammation, regenerate cells and increase blood flow to the area. These three reactions are all influential on the body’s ability to heal itself." This form of treatment affects a wide range of conditions. Not only is there potential for it to help people suffering from neuropathy, but others with painful joints, muscles and chronic injuries may also find relief. "I am very pleased and encouraged with the response I am seeing in my patients," says Zang. "It isn’t very often that a new technology has such a positive impact on so many different conditions. My patients say that it has truly made a difference in the quality of their lives."