If you find that each step you take sends shock waves of sharp pain throughout your body, hopefully you will find this story a step in the right direction for getting some relief. We watched as a foot and ankle surgeon in Yankton at Avera Sacred Heart performed a procedure that iced out the pain for good.
Deena Hansen of Yankton says the shots are the worst part for her. Admittedly, she isn't a big fan of shots, but she is a big fan of what's to follow the local anesthetic which is a 20 minute outpatient surgery to relieve the pain she's had in her right heel for a year and a half. Deena has always been active but has suffered with chronic foot pain for years.
Deena says, "You have a strike against you in the morning before you ever get out of bed. Chronic pain rules your life."
Dr. Terry Pedersen at the Avera Foot and Ankle Clinic in Yankton is using cryosurgery to treat her heel pain. After making a small incision in the heel, he uses a cryoprobe and positions inside the heel tissue where it hurts. The liquid nitrogen causes an ice ball the size of a pea to form on the end of the probe which freezes the damaged tissue and nerve cells causing the pain. Then the tissue basically heals itself.
Dr. Pedersen says, "We aren't grinding away bone, we aren't releasing ligaments and muscles attached to the heel. We are basically freezing the nerve and tissue responsible for pain. It's very limited and a direct approach."
Dr. Pedersen did this same surgery on Dena's left heel a year and a half ago after she tried everything including cortisone shots, physical therapy, and corrective shoes. Nothing worked until this.
Deena says, "Oh yeah, I didn't have any pain in my left foot anymore and I haven't since the day I had the procedure. It's been great."
After the surgery Deena will have to stay off her feet and ice her heel for about 3 to 4 days and she will use over the counter orthotics for added arch support.
Dr. Pedersen says, "It's been found to be 90 % effective so that means 9 out of 10 patients will be happy with it. That's what we've been seeing and that's what the literature supports. It's a really good return especially for people who have been having heel pain for so long they are happy to have relief."
Deena is just thrilled knowing when she gets back on her feet in a few days, it finally won't hurt and she thinks that's quite a feat in itself.
Deena is not only a return patient for cryosurgery, she was the very first one to have it done at the Avera Foot and Ankle Clinic.