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Austin, Minnesota, resident Gayle Faber, 69, suffered through plantar fasciitis — inflammation or damage to the plantar fascia, the ligament tissue that connects the heel to toes — for several years, enduring the stabbing heel pain that’s associated with it. “I had lived with it for at least 15 years,” says Faber. “I’m a very active walker, and I tried to wear supportive tennis shoes all the time, even first thing in the morning, as one physician suggested, but the pain kept coming back.”
But five years ago, Faber came across what some would call a miracle cure: micro-invasive ultrasonic tendon treatment.
Darryl Barnes, M.D., a musculoskeletal and sports medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin, and Jay Smith, M.D., a physiatrist and sports medicine physician at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, collaborated to invent this new treatment to remove damaged tendon and ligament tissue.
“Anywhere you see tendinosis, which involves micro-tears and/or degradation of tendons, ultrasound-guided, ultrasonic debridement treatment is highly effective,” says Dr. Barnes. The device creates ultrasonic (high-frequency sound waves) energy at the tip of the instrument, which removes damaged tissue that is subsequently sucked away from the healthy tissue via catheter.
“This is a great option for patients with tendinosis issues, such as rotator cuff tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. We treat patients in Austin and they are able to go home the same day,” says Dr. Barnes. “Mayo Clinic is a unique environment that allowed Dr. Smith and I to test new ideas and create new products for our patients quickly.”
Dr. Barnes treated Faber with this revolutionary ultrasonic technology, which he says is being used at medical institutions around the country, including Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin, and the results are astounding. “It was wonderful,” says Faber. “There was no anesthesia needed, and the treatment worked immediately. I have had no pain at all since the procedure.”