• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

New procedure heals the heels

January 2, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
It's not unusual for your feet to feel a little run down at the end of the day, but when feet become persistently painful, it's time to see a podiatrist.Now doctors have a new treatment in their arsenal that provides relief to this painful condition.

Debbie Warner spends a lot of time on her feet. When she's not on a walk, she's training for her next triathlon.

"I love it. I would do it for a living if I could, but I'm not that good," said Warner.

Last year, intense heel pain stopped her in her tracks.

"At times, I didn't even want to go from my desk to the bathroom," said Warner.

Some experts say up to 40 million Americans have heel pain.

"The band of tissue at the bottom of the foot gets inflamed and it pulls and it gets tight and that causes pain," said podiatrist Dr. Marlene Reid.

And that pain can be debilitating.

"I've had patients that have told me they crawl," said Dr. Reid. "It's so painful to walk that they crawl."

Now Dr. Reid is healing heels with radio-frequency energy.

"You go through the skin without actually opening it up, without actually doing an incision," said Dr. Reid.

After mapping out the target points, Dr. Reid delivers the radio-frequency energy with a wand. It breaks up scar tissue and increases blood flow.

"The success rate so far is much greater than open heel surgery," said Dr. Reid.

Called the "TOPAZ Procedure," it takes less than 20 minutes.

"It's changed their lives," said Dr. Reid. "TOPAZ literally changes people's lives."

After five months of intense pain, Debbie Warner had the procedure.

"It was pretty amazing that it worked pretty quickly," said Warner.

And just seven months later, she was able to finish her second Ironman triathlon pain-free.

"I don't know what I would have done if I couldn't run again," said Warner.

This minimally invasive TOPAZ procedure is still under FDA review and only available through clinical trials being conducted in Illinois.

An open TOPAZ procedure, which requires a one-inch incision, is FDA-approved and is covered by most insurance companies.

TOPAZ clinical trials


Load Comments