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What is Cryotherapy of the Foot?

Cryotherapy of the foot, also known as cryosurgery or cryocautery, is a treatment that involves the use of an extremely cold instrument or liquid to treat chronic foot pain by freezing and destroying damaged nerve fibers which cause pain and removing abnormal growths on the skin. This procedure is considered very safe as it minimizes damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

Indications for Cryotherapy of the Foot

Cryotherapy may be used to treat the following foot conditions:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Pinched nerve fibers
  • Damaged tissues 
  • Warts on the feet
  • Neuroma
  • Callus formation
  • Foot lesions

Preparing for Cryotherapy of the Foot

No extensive preparation is required other than ensuring your foot is clean and dry. In case of the removal of warts and other growths from the feet, your surgeon may sometimes suggest the application of a salicylic acid preparation a few weeks in advance to reduce the size of the growth. 

Procedure for Cryotherapy of the Foot

The procedure involves the following steps:

  • Your doctor will inject local anesthesia to the target site on your foot.
  • A small incision will be made near the target site.
  • A cryoprobe containing a tiny cold ball of liquid nitrogen at the tip will be inserted through the incision.
  • Using ultrasound guidance, the cryoprobe will be guided to the targeted nerve fiber or tissue and the liquid nitrogen ball will freeze the damaged area, blocking the transmission of pain signals.

Post-Operative Care and Recovery after Cryotherapy of the Foot

A compression bandage will be applied over the site and you will have to reduce physical activity for 1-2 days. During this time, you should apply ice and elevate of your leg to reduce redness and inflammation and keep the site clean and dry.

Risks and Complications of Cryotherapy of the Foot

Risks and complications include:

  • Nerve damage
  • Infection
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Hypopigmentation
  • Bruising at the site of injection

Benefits of Cryotherapy of the Foot 

The benefits of cryotherapy include:
  • Acceleration of soft tissue healing
  • Reduction of inflammation and swelling
  • Elimination of metabolic byproducts
  • Pain relief

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