What is Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem cell therapy is an amazing medical technology that uses the healing power of one’s own body  (or a  donor) to repair certain foot and ankle conditions. Stem cells promote bone and soft tissue healing to help remove scar tissue, reduce inflammation, and help promote new tissue growth faster!

How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work?

Stem cell therapy has become a fantastic non-surgical option for patients suffering from a number of painful foot and ankle conditions. The procedure is virtually pain-free. Using ultrasound, a vile of stem cells is injected into the desired location.  Stem cells work locally and recruit immune response that rapidly heals damage.

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 cells injections contain hyaluronic acid, which lubricates joints and tendons, easing pain and helping restore mobility.

The recovery time is a few days in a boot. The healing begins right away and can continue for months as healthy tissue replaces scar tissue and unhealthy tissue.

How Are the Stem Cells Obtained?

The main type of stem cells used in our office are Allograft cells, which are obtained from a donor or tissue bank. The cells are usually obtained from amniotic tissue, or layer of the placenta,  the protective barrier surrounding an unborn baby that is discarded as medical waste during caesarean section deliveries. All amniotic stem cell donors go through a rigorous screening process, as determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB).

The other type of cells used are Autograft cells, which are harvested from the patient’s own body. Our podiatrists first acquire some of the patient’s own stem cells by collecting a blood sample from either whole blood, or blood plus a selected bone aspirate from the patient's body (usually the calcaneus, proximal tibia, or hip.) The bone marrow aspirate type of  procedure is most commonly done in the OR for pain control but in tibia and heel can often to done in office. Once the cells are harvested, unhelpful cells are removed, red blood cells, leaving only the powerful, healing stem cells.  The plasma obtained contains growth factors, healing cells, and if bone aspirate is obtained human stem cells.  In children stem cells specifically be obtained through whole blood.  Both procedures are highly effective but in adults whole blood may not be as beneficial as blood plus bone marrow aspirate.

Schedule your consultation today to see if stem cell therapy can help you with your foot and ankle pain!