Foot and Ankle pain can affect your mobility which may lead to a permanent disability. Age, overuse, accident or disease can cause foot and ankle pain. With age, your body does not produce enough cells to sustain your body parts. An injury can diminish the cells protecting your cartilage, tendons or soft tissues. Whatever may be the case, stem cell therapy can reverse your condition.
Stem cell Therapy is a pioneering technology that uses regenerative stem cells from your own body or amniotic stem cells to treat different conditions ranging from physical injuries to foot and ankle injuries, even diabetes and heart disease.
What are Stem cells? Stem cells are unspecialized cells that are capable of renewing themselves through cell division. When the cell divides, they can remain the same or become a cell with a specialized function like a muscle cell, a red Blood Cell or a brain cell. Depending on the nature of your foot and ankle injury, Stem Cell Therapy can be used for an effective non-surgical and non-pharmaceutical treatment. They are used to treat:
- Chronic non- healing wounds
- Slow healing fractures and bone surgery
- Small tendon tears
- Chronic tendonitis
- Scar reduction
- Achilles tendonitis
- Recalcitrant plantar fasciitis
- Sports injuries
Stem cell Therapy Procedure
In this treatment, the stem cells are harvested from your own body. They are collected either from bone marrow or Adipose tissue with the help of a needle. The process of numbing your hip and getting the stem cells from the bone marrow with needle is called Bone Marrow Aspirate.
While you relax, the drawn sample is concentrated, purified, and customized in the laboratory to treat your particular injury. Usually, stem cells from bone marrow are preferred for treatment of bone, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments, as well as muscle, neural and other progenitor tissues. For other treatments, stem cells from Adipose tissues are used. Though stem cells from Adipose tissue require prior processing, the culturing process is not as extensive as required for Bone marrow-derived cells. So, Adipose tissue stem cells are much preferred. Alongside, concentrated platelets are also collected.
The platelets are first injected at the injury site to activate the stem cells. Later, on the same day, the stem cells are administered. The stem cells injected enhance the repair process in the injury site, healing the affected tendons, ligaments or arthritic joints to a healthy one. The doctors use advanced imaging guidance such as real-time fluoroscopy or musculoskeletal ultrasound to pinpoint the exact location of the injection. Platelets are administered again within a week time to enhance the healing process.
Currently for foot and Ankle injuries, surgical procedures such as ankle arthroscopy and ankle bone fusion are done. Apart from the results being uncertain, these painful procedures involve a very long recovery and rehabilitation period. But, with stem cell therapy patients return to their healthy and happy life very quickly, once their scar tissues heal and the inflammation and pain are relieved. It does not involve lengthy recovery time usually required after a foot and ankle surgery.
The latest advancement in the stem cell therapy to treat foot and ankle injuries is to use stem cells from the Amniotic fluid. These are collected during a caesarian section carefully following the FDA regulations. The Amniotic stem cells have ECM (Extra-cellular Matrix) which helps cell movement and attachment. This signals the body’s own local cells to help with the healing process.