OUR FEET ARE AMAZING—each has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons. But because of the tremendous amount of weight and pressure on them, things can and do go wrong and when they do, it can result in foot pain and ripple effects throughout our whole being.
Thirty years of helping people with their feet led podiatrist Dr. Gregg Congdon to laser equipment five years ago. “It’s the best tool we’ve ever had,” he says.
Dr. Congdon moved from the US to Victoria in 2004, first practicing at the Victoria Podiatry Clinic and the Cook Street Village Health Centre, and now out of beautiful offices in Fairfield Plaza’s Ross Bay Health Centre (Dr. Stephen Gordon, Medical Director). Here, Dr. Congdon and his assistant Colette Polard RN, are using the latest iteration of the Cutera Genesis Plus Laser to treat a wide range of foot problems, as well as providing rejuvenating skin care.
With toenail fungus, a common, unpleasant condition, the laser penetrates the nail plate and heats the tissue, killing the fungus beneath. “Usually a course of three treatments over four months with a follow-up a few months later is all that’s needed. We’ve had a 70 to 80 percent success rate,” says Dr. Congdon. All with no downtime, no side effects, and minimal risk.
In the past, the only partially effective treatment available to help with toenail fungus—an oral medication—posed problems for the liver, with liver function tests needed every 6 weeks.
Warts caused by Human Papilloma Virus are also more effectively treated by the laser than the usual topical medications offered. Again, usually only three sessions are needed to completely clear the condition.
Nurse Colette, who operates the laser, says the most typical response from long-suffering patients of such conditions is “Where have you been?!”
In recent years, clinical trials in the US demonstrated a very high reduction of pain and size of neuromas (inflammatory, benign tumor of nerve near the metatarsals) with between three to seven treatments.
“The possibility of replacing conventional treatments, primarily cortisone or alcohol injections and surgery, with an external, non-traumatic, non-invasive modality is the material of Star Trek,” says Dr. Congdon. “All our patients treated for neuromas stated a 50 percent reduction in pain and size of the neuroma with the first treatment alone. After three treatments, the majority of neuromas were no longer painful or palpable.”
Buoyed by this success, other musculoskeletal disorders have been tackled by Dr. Congdon and Colette, including plantar fasciitis, post-operative pain, stress fractures, tendinitis, and shin splints. “The laser is revolutionizing the practice of podiatry,” says Dr. Congdon.
Because it activates collagen production and reduces inflammation, Colette took training in using the laser for facial rejuvenation. The laser goes deep into the epidermis producing skin tightening, a reduction of pore size, fuller lips, and helps with acne scarring and rosacea. “Four to six treatments, two weeks apart, seem to be ideal,” says Colette, noting there’s a cumulative effect over time, even beyond the treatments.
For foot issues, Dr. Congdon will develop a customized treatment plan, using all possible diagnostic and treatment modalities—laser, but also conservative care and surgery—to alleviate your foot or ankle pain.
Dr. Gregg Congdon DPM; Colette Polard RN
Ross Bay Health Centre
Fairfield Plaza (behind Heart Pharmacy)
#16-1594 Fairfield Road