stem-cells

State of the Art Stem Cells Provide Relief of Foot Pain

Foot and ankle pain is the most common complaint I treat on a daily basis. Many of these problems are caused by a new or old fracture or sports related injury, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, acute and degenerative arthritis or scar tissue. I have been utilizing a relatively new and exciting treatment option, which is now available to treat many of these conditions, which would typically require surgery in the past. Injecting the patient’s own stem cells into the injured or painful area has become an exciting, safe and very effective, non-surgical treatment.

The use of stem cells in joint, bone, tendon and soft tissue injuries is one of the most exciting developments in medicine in recent memory. The promise of repairing damaged tissue with the patient’s own normal functioning cells instead of scar tissue is amazing. Stem cell research is occurring in most major medical centers in the U.S and around the world for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, COPD (lung disease) and many others.

What is a stem cell?

The human body is made up of cells. A heart muscle cell looks and functions differently than a nerve or muscle cell. Initially they all came from a one-celled embryo that divided and changed. As the body formed this initial cell grew into separate and different cell types. Stem cells are remnants of those early cells with the potential to become any of the specialized cells that make up a human body and are found in our bone marrow.

Why stem cells?

The promise of stem cells is that once collected from you and re-injected into your injured or damaged area, the cells will alter the local cell environment and they can be used to fix damaged tissue. Different tissues have different ability to repair itself, however if they cannot, the best the body can often do is form fibrous scar tissue. If you have cartilage damage that causes arthritis, stem cells can potentially change into new cartilage. If you have a chronic tendon injury or tear, the tendon can heal itself with new tendon cells versus scar tissue.

Where do the stem cells come from?

Stem cells come from you! Not a company, donor or laboratory. To date, stem cells can be derived from bone marrow, fat tissue and blood. Typically cells are collected by a simple blood draw (similar to having a blood test) or from a small needle into the heel bone.

 

Where can stem cells be used?

Stem cell injections are used for many foot and ankle conditions, including;

Non-healing fractures

Tendon injuries

Chronic ankle sprains

Ligament injuries

Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis

Plantar fasciitis

Joint arthritis

Wound healing

 

I have been using stem cells that are derived from the patient’s own bone marrow because they have been shown to provide the greatest healing potential. Once obtained, the blood is placed into a machine, similar to a centrifuge, which “spins” the blood and separates the stem cells. The stem cell rich portion is then injected into the injured or damaged area where they almost immediately begin to multiply and flourish. Stem cells have been found to replicate themselves and nearby cells begin to mimic them making healing possible and producing an anti-inflammatory effect that can help reduce pain. Additionally, stem cell injections contain hyaluronic acid (a naturally occurring protein), which lubricates joints and tendons, easing pain and helping restore mobility. It is a procedure that can be done comfortably under local or twilight anesthesia and takes 30-40 minutes.

Feel free to call the office at 201-261-0500 for an appointment to see if your condition can be treated by stem cell injection.