How can Baird Vascular Institute at VCU Health help my heel pain?

baird heel pain

Tendons are the tough, flexible bands of tissue that connect your muscles to the bones in your joints, working together to allow all the twisting, gripping, grabbing, bending and lifting in your busy life. But repetitive pounding motions can cause microscopic tears every time you use your tendon. As you keep at it, these micro tears do not have time to heal properly and, unless treated, can get worse, making you suffer for months or years. This condition is often called simply tendinitis (tendon inflammation), but usually is actually tendinosis, tendon tissue that has simply broken down from the overuse and micro tears.

You know the feeling – it’s gotten a little worse with time. That little twinge you felt on your daily jog has now become a knife-sharp sting in the exact same spot with every step you take, every day. It’s impossible to ignore the pain…and you shouldn’t. Tendon injuries need attention. Sometimes, rest, therapy and a change in activities may ease the pain…but often the damage is permanent, and only gets worse.

Sometimes you can cope with tendon injuries with ice, rest, physical therapy and other treatments – particularly if you stop the repetitive activity and rest as soon as you feel the very first twinges. More often than not, people try coping with the growing pain, on the job or at play. However, if the damage doesn’t heal properly, or if you continue the activity and increase the damage, you risk long-term injury, constant pain – and giving up an activity you love.

We can help. Using precision ultrasound imaging guidance and a minimally invasive treatment, we can delicately remove the damaged tendon tissue and get you back to the activities you love in a matter of weeks – with little to no pain. Unlike other medical or physical therapies, this procedure safely removes the cause of the pain at the source, and unlike many traditional surgical procedures, it is far less invasive, requires far less recovery time – and has a much higher success rate. The treatment requires only a local anesthetic and a tiny incision, and is virtually pain-free. We use a targeted application of ultrasound energy to break down the damaged tendon tissue while leaving surrounding healthy tissue untouched.

We then use an FDA-cleared device to remove the damaged tendon tissue. You don’t even need stitches. The entire treatment takes about 20 minutes.

Most people won’t need any further treatment, such as physical therapy. You wear a walking boot for a week or two while the area heals. The most common post-procedure problem reported is some soreness, which can generally be treated with over-the-counter pain medication and typically lasts less than a week. In a recent study, doctors reported no other side effects. More than 25,000 people have had the treatment since 2012, with a high rate of satisfaction. In most cases, patients are back to the activities they love in six weeks or less.

Call us at (804) 828-2600 to discuss whether image-guided treatment is the right option for you.

Physician Profile – Dr. Levy

VCU Health’s medical staff at Baird Vascular Institute reflects fresh thinking about a collaborative approach to vascular care. VCU Health Medical Center’s Division of Vascular Surgery and Department of Radiology joined forces to create Central Virginia’s only academically based vascular center. We’ve brought together leading interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons to provide the Greater Richmond and Central Virginia region with the best in vascular diagnosis and treatment. Together, they offer area patients and referring physicians a level of medical expertise, experience and knowledge usually found only in a major academic medical center, as well as the most advanced technologies and facilities to support their work – all in a convenient outpatient setting.

Occasionally, we like to highlight some of our physicians on a more personal level. We recently sat down with Mark M. Levy, MD, our Chair of Vascular Surgery – to find out a little more about what he’s like outside of the office.

Where are you from?  I’m originally from Elberon, New Jersey – on the Jersey shore. The job at at VCU Health is what brought me to Richmond in the 1990’s.

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Mark M. Levy, MD

Would you say you’re a city person or a country person? I have no idea – I feel like I could be both. I feel comfortable in both an urban environment or a profoundly rural environment. But I would have to say, like most people, I can relax a little more in a rural environment.

What do you enjoy in your spare time? I like to spend time with family on the river in Deltaville, Virginia – both sailing and fishing. My children have small racing sailboats, Optis and Lasers, and they’ve all learned to sail in Deltaville over the past 15 years.

Tell us about your family. My wife & I moved to Richmond in 1998, and we have 5 children, all of which are in school in Richmond or at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

What’s your favorite television show and why? That’s a hard one, that presumes I watch anything other than news and sports and increasingly, only sports. As many folks do, we watch more and more movies on Netflix and online.

What’s your favorite sports team? I love so many teams, but I do like the Richmond Flying Squirrels – since I’m a baseball fan, they would have to be my favorite.

What’s your favorite book? I enjoy reading stories from the Bible, but don’t happen to have a current favorite book.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are 3 things you’d want to have with you? Well, first, a large container of spring water for obvious reasons, a sailboat and mosquito repellent – I’m very susceptible to mosquitoes.

What’s one thing patients would be surprised to know about you? Most people don’t know that I have 5 children – ranging in age from 14 to 19.

What do you like most about working at Baird Vascular Institute at VCU Health? I love taking care of vascular patients with both venous and arterial occlusive disease. I enjoy getting to know them as well.