Stem Cell Therapy for the Foot & Ankle

Skip the surgery and begin to heal naturally with a brief office visit

When your feet hurt, the world can quickly become a small place as simply leaving the house becomes a struggle. But just living with the discomfort or undergoing grueling surgery don’t have to be your only options to open your world back up.

Stem cell therapy is a safe, inexpensive, non-surgical way to overcome a foot or ankle injury from sports, wear and tear, aging, or a progressive disease. As forms of regenerative medicine, stem cell therapy and PRP injections work by replenishing healthy cells and tissues using healing elements that are already in your body.


What Is Stem Cell Therapy & How Can it Heal Foot or Ankle Conditions

Philadelphia PRP and Stem Cell Institute offers two types of regenerative medicine procedures to treat foot or ankle pain:

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Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)

Platelets from your own blood are concentrated and re-injected, supplying the damaged area with vital growth factors that promote cellular repair.

 
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Stem Cell Therapy (BMC)

Adult mesenchymal stem cells harvested from your hip are re-injected into the problem area where they heal by encouraging new tissue growth and controlling inflammation.


What Foot and Ankle Conditions Can Stem Cell Therapy Help?

Common ankle and foot conditions that may be improved with stem cell therapy include:

  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome

  • Plantar fasciitis

  • Bunions

  • Achilles tendonitis

  • Arthritis

  • Peroneal tendon tear or split

  • Ligament sprain or tear*

  • Subtalar arthritis

*Please note: some ligament and cartilage tears may be too extensive to heal completely with BMC injection alone. In those cases, we may recommend a combination of surgical intervention combined with BMC to achieve maximal healing.


How Do the Procedures Work?

Our regenerative medicine therapies vary slightly in the materials they use and from where they’re derived, but from the patient’s perspective they are quite similar:

Stem Cell Therapy:

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Extraction
As you lie facedown on a table, the doctor extracts bone marrow aspirate from your hip with a special needle. You may experience mild discomfort but the majority of patients tolerate this easily.

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Concentration
To concentrate the adult stem cells and platelets in the marrow fluid into BMC, the aspirate is spun in a centrifuge for up to 15 minutes.

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Injection
The doctor re-injects the stem cell-rich, concentrated BMC into the area of pain.

 

PRP

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Extraction
The doctor draws a blood sample from your arm, just like in a routine blood test.

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Concentration
The blood we’ve drawn is spun in a centrifuge to separate the growth factor-containing platelets from the other components in the plasma. The PRP is then removed.

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Injection
With the PRP material prepared, it is injected into the damaged tissue, disc, joint, or tendon, using x-ray or ultrasound guidance, if necessary.

A platelet-rich plasma treatment will seem much like simply giving blood from your arm, except in this case the now-enhanced blood is re-injected at the end.


Stem Cell Therapy vs Ankle or Foot Surgery

Bunions, arthritis, and Achilles tendonitis are some of the most common foot and ankle injuries treated with surgery when other methods (orthotics, steroid injections, physical therapy) fail to provide relief.

In addition to the adverse side effects that may arise with any type of surgery such as swelling and infection, foot and ankle surgeries carry significant drawbacks that make them especially arduous. They are notoriously difficult to recover from, requiring extensive rehab and rest for as long as six months afterward.

Alarmingly, even after the lengthy recovery time, some patients experience permanently altered biomechanics that can actually lead to pain in other areas due to surgically induced misalignment. This can in turn necessitate additional surgery to correct the problems created in the first surgery.

Conversely, stem cell therapy not only speeds the recovery process dramatically, but it does so without the need for any steroids or opioid pain medication. When you return to sports or other strenuous activities, you’ll do so with the confidence that your alignment is exactly the same as it was, only now you’ll be planting your body weight on improved cartilage or tissue.

Regenerative Medicine vs Surgery vs Pain Injections - A Comparison

  Stem Cell Therapy (BMC) PRP Traditional Surgery Pain Injections
Hospital stay Not required* Not required* Inpatient Not required
Anaesthesia Local Local General Local
Procedure Minimally invasive Minimally invasive Invasive Minimally invasive
Risk of infection Minimal Minimal Yes Minimal
Greater threat to at-risk patients (elderly, diabetic, overweight) No No Yes No
Loss of bone or tissue No No Yes No
Scarring No No Yes No
Risk of new biomechanical problems post-treatment No No Yes No
Painkillers required post-treatment No No Sometimes No
Time to return to daily activities 1-2 days 1-2 days 2-3+ months 1-2 days
Full recovery period 4-12 weeks 4-12 weeks A few weeks to several months 2-10 days
Addresses Underlying Biological Dysfunction Partially Partially No No

*Most BMC and PRP procedures occur in a physician's office, but some patients may elect to have them done on an outpatient basis in a surgery center if they prefer non-local anesthesia.


Safe & Natural Procedures to Overcome Pain

PRP and adult mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) injections are autologous, which means they’re obtained from the same individual who’s using them. So while they still carry the slight risk of infection or bleeding that all injections involve, there’s effectively no risk of allergic reaction or rejection of the patient’s own PRP or stem cells.

Both types of therapies are minimally invasive and adhere to all relevant FDA guidelines. The MSC therapy we provide is an FDA-accepted part of the practice of medicine, because we only process and apply the cells you already have in your body. We produce PRP using 510(k) cleared medical devices, registered and fully compliant with FDA regulations.


Are You a Candidate?

We would love to speak to you about your foot or ankle pain to determine if it can be treated with stem cell therapy. Contact us today!