This is just a preliminary report on my experience with cold laser treatment for my arthritic big toe, hallux limitus.
All the doctors that I have seen said that I needed an operation to shave down the bone spur on my big toe which resulted from my turf toe injury becoming arthritic - and one even said that I needed a joint replacement. It was only becoming worse, and every step hurt, so I had pretty much resigned myself to the operation, and as a last resort I figured I'd try every goofy thing I ever heard of, and I heard something about cold laser treatment right here. Someone mentioned it in passing about a month ago.
So far I've only had four 5-10 minute treatments by the physical therapist The swelling on my toe has gone way down, the redness is way less, and yesterday I actually hiked in the hills for about four miles totally pain free, the first time in 3 1/2 years! (Long distance hiking and backpacking used to be some of my sports)
I just hope I don't spook this and it's not some sort of temporary miracle!
Hope it continues to work for you. And if you have to go the cheilectomy route, it's not a big deal. I was dancing 3 weeks later, in heels at 6 weeks. Shaquille O'Neal had it done in 2002 and was back in the lineup 2-1/2 months later. 5 years out I'm doing great with it...jog, dance, whatever...
I read about success stories like yours, and they seem to be the majority, but I also read about people who say that a year after the operation and their foot hurts worse than ever. I'm scared of having that operation and I will be so happy if this turns out to be a miracle cure!
Please keep us posted. I have it in my right great toe as well...haven't had it fixed yet because it doesn't hurt as bad as the left one did. I may end up having it repaired at some point in the future and would be interested in how this turns out for you.
What is a cold laser treatment? Where is it done? Is it painful?
It is totally painless. You don't feel a thing. It seems that mostly chiropractors and physical therapists are doing it. I did an internet search (cold laser treatment, or something like that) and found a local physical therapist who does it and that's where I have been going. I asked my doctor (MD) about it yesterday and he said he heard it's very good and he asked me about it, like how much the lasers cost. The device that my therapist uses is called the Microlight ML830. You can search that and find some info. This device costs $3-4,000. There are more or less similar devices that veterinarians use that cost about 1/9 the price. I am trying to learn more about them.
i think this is so interesting. it really took the pain and swelling down? i would like to hear more about it.
I was the most skeptical person when I went in for this and when they tried to get me to make another appointment I told them no, I'll call them, planning on never going back - but then strangely my foot felt better so i did go back. I've had four treatments so far, each separated by a week or two as I've been out of town a lot. I've had this problem developing for many years, getting worse and worse, especially since I re-injured it 3 1/2 years ago. Yes, the swelling and redness have gone way down. If it keeps on doing that you won't be able to see a thing!
I'm still not ready to swear by the laser though. The phys. ther. did a new stretch on my toe that I had never heard of before. He pulled the joint apart, like hard. I was afraid that he would make it worse, but no - but maybe that's what did it. So what I've been doing lately is NOT doing that stretch (I had been doing it on my own too), trying to see if it is the laser or the stretch that helped me. So far, not doing the stretch, my foot continues to improve. Still, the jury is out - but this is the first hope that I've had for my foot actually healing itself without surgery - and I just hope it continues!!!
When you have the surgery, the PT aftewards is to do that stretch and then up and down. Boy, they really impressed that upon me! Do it as often as I thought about it. I think that's one thing that made my surgery a success. And they drilled holes in the cartilege to promote rowth - and I swear it did! I truly think I have thicker cartilege now.
FYI, they have this contraption that you put your toe in and that pulls it and moves it up and down that theyuse on athletes when they stub their toe. Same idea.
I'm glad that your surgery worked out so well, T! Of all the podiatrists I've seen over the years for this, and an orthopedic surgeon too, not one ever suggested that stretch - in fact all they seemed to like to suggest is surgery -and what if that stretch is done BEFORE doing any surgery? You mentioned that stretching device for athletes that stub their toe - and that's just what caused my problem and re-injured it too, stubbing it hard - and I've never heard of that device either, nor did any f them tell me about it! Would you happen to know what name it goes under or have a link to it?
No, I just know some of my buddies who played football in college talk about it. It only helps when the injury forst occurs to keep the joint from being compressed. What happens with this injury (also known as runner's toe, tennis toe, turf toe) is that the joint gets jammed - running, injury, high heels, etc can all cause it. And then it just stays in that position...eventually the compression causes the cartilege to disintegrate, bones spurs are formed, bone chips float around in the joint and there is a bump on top of either side of the joint from the two bones rubbing together. All that is what causes the pain. The cheilectomy is removal of the chips and spurs and an osteotomy is the shaving off of the bump so the toe can move properly. Some docs just call it all a cheilectomy cause it all has to be done for it to work anyway. Some docs will drill holes in the remaining cartilege to promote growth.
If there isn't sufficient cartilege left, then you are talking implant or fusion. My doc said my surgery should last me 15-20 years...by then I'll be almost 80.
Hopefully it will last longer! I hope to still be jogging at 80!