Help for Chronic Heel Pain

April 8, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Foot Care, Health 

Heel and tendon pain are common foot injuries often caused by repetitive activity such as running. It is estimated that 1 and 2 million patients visit a doctor each year for heel-related pain. The study mentioned below may be helpful for many athletes.

A retrospective study of 100 patients who received a radio frequency treatment for heel or tendon pain found that the procedure improved their level of activity and significantly reduced pain. 


Dr. Thomas Brosky II, DPM

Dr. Thomas Brosky II, DPM

Thomas A. Brosky II, DPM of the Foot and Ankle Clinic of Oakwood, Ga. presents his research findings at the Midwest Podiatry Conference in Chicago on Thursday, April 1.
Topaz is a minimally invasive procedure for the debridement, or cleaning, of soft tissue, such as tendons in the knee, shoulder, elbow and ankle. When using Topaz to treat heel pain, a podiatrist uses a series of small punctures at appropriate locations in the foot. The doctor then slips the TOPAZ wand thru these punctures where radio frequency energy is applied on and around the affected tendon for 1/2-second duration treatments a quarter inch apart. Then, with every fourth application, the device is inserted deeper in the tendon until it reaches about one-quarter inch in depth.

The entire TOPAZ procedure typically takes less than 20 minutes and the patient is ready to leave the clinic once they recover from light anesthesia.

In Dr.Brosky’s study, patients who had not responded to conservative treatment were given Topaz. Then, he and his research team surveyed 100 of these patients to determine their satisfaction and level of success with Topaz. 


Of the 100 patients surveyed, 93 responded. When asked about pain levels during six-week postoperative period, 47 said they had no pain, 27 had mild pain and 18 said their pain level was moderate. More than 9 of 10 indicated they were happy with this procedure and would recommend it to a friend.

“The results of our survey indicate that many patients who undergo Topaz do very well, even when surveyed a year after the procedure,” Dr. Brosky said.

He said that almost eight of 10 patients said they could walk several blocks without pain after the surgery and that while 47 patients indicated they couldn’t run before the surgery, 65 said they could run afterward.
Brosky stressed that Topaz isn’t a first-line treatment for heel pain.

“All of the patients in the study had conservative treatment first such as ice, stretching, and over the counter pain relievers,” he said. 


Utilizing the science of Coblation technology, the TOPAZ MicroDebrider, was developed by Sunnyvale, Calif.-based ArthroCare Corp. Their website describes “TOPAZ as a quick, simple and minimally invasive medical technique now available for the treatment of tendons and fascia. The TOPAZ MicroDebrider utilizes patented Coblation® technology, designed to specifically treat tendons and fascia. To date, over 5 million Coblation procedures have been performed1. The TOPAZ technique has been associated with quick return to daily activities allowing for significant improvement in patient outcomes. Since obtaining original FDA clearance in 2002 and expanded indications for tendonotomy in 2005, TOPAZ has offered a minimally invasive alternative for thousands of patients for the treatment of tendons and fascia.”

The Topaz website offers a physician locater based on your Zip code.