The Stem Cell Institute of Los Angeles, home of Dr. Stem Cell, provides Los Angeles’ most advanced regenerative treatments for the ankle and foot. Before considering invasive surgery, contact our office today to see why injection stem cell therapy has become the most popular ankle and foot injury treatment.
- 1 What is Stem Cell Treatment?
- 2 Foot and Ankle Injuries Treated with Stem Cell Therapy
- 3 Good Candidates for Foot and Ankle Stem Cell Therapy
- 4 How to Treat the Foot and Ankle with Stem Cells
- 5 Recovery
- 6 Cost of Stem Cell Therapy
- 7 Schedule Your Consultation
What is Stem Cell Treatment?
What exactly is stem cell treatment? This has become a very common question, and for good reason! Stem cell treatment or stem cell therapy has become the world’s most sought-after joint injury treatment because it is far less invasive than surgical replacement or fusion options. Stem cell treatment injects adipose-derived unspecialized stem cells into the affected joint. That’s it.
With a simple liposuction procedure, millions and millions of unspecialized stem cells can be harvested from the stromal vascular fraction. The cells are then put through a purification process, leaving only the most viable stem cells for injection. Before considering an invasive surgery, contact the Stem Cell Institute of Los Angeles and see if you are a candidate for this popular alternative for ankle and foot joint pain or injury.
Foot and Ankle Injuries Treated with Stem Cell Therapy
Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease. This occurs when the cartilage that covers the top of the bones, known as articular cartilage, degenerates or wears down. This causes swelling, joint pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. Damage caused by mechanical stress with insufficient self-repair of the joints is believed to be the primary cause of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis most often occurs in people who are over 50. In younger people, osteoarthritis can result from an injury or trauma such as a fractured or dislocated joint. Rarely, osteoarthritis may also be hereditary.
The risk of ankle osteoarthritis is greatest in those who are overweight, have one leg of a different length than the other, or have jobs that result in the high levels of ankle joint stress. Diagnosis is typically based on signs and symptoms, x-ray results, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging or CAT scan studies. Ankle fractures, chronic ankle sprains with instability, also result in degenerative traumatic arthritis over time.
The main symptom is ankle pain, stiffness, difficulty with walking, squatting, kneeling, or climbing, made worse by prolonged activity, and relieved by rest. Osteoarthritis can often cause a cracking noise (crepitus) when the ankle joint is moved or twisted. Lifestyle modifications, such as weight loss and exercise, ankle bracing, physical therapy, and use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are part of conservative treatment for symptomatic ankle osteoarthritis.
Tendonitis and Tendinosis
Tendinitis refers to inflammation of a tendon, a flexible band of tissue connecting the muscles to the bones. The pull of the muscles is transmitted to the bone by the tendons which allow movement. When the tendons are inflamed and irritated, the pulling action of the muscle is impaired with loss of function of the joint.
Symptoms can vary from mild aches or pains and joint stiffness to a burning sensation that surrounds the entire joint around the inflamed tendon. In some cases, swelling occurs along with heat and redness, and there may be visible knots surrounding the joint. With this condition, the pain is usually worse during and/or after physical activity. The tendon and joint area can become stiff the following day as muscles tighten from the movement of the tendon.
Tendinosis, however, is a chronic injury caused by an accumulation of small tears in the tendon that have failed to heal properly over time. Patients commonly find it almost impossible to keep from restraining the tendon, because even when the pain is gone, the tendon still hasn’t fully healed.
Achilles tendinitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon generally caused by overuse of the affected foot/ankle.
Achilles tendinitis is thought to have physiological, mechanical and/or extrinsic (footwear or training) causes. Physiologically, the Achilles tendon is subject to poor blood supply through the synovial sheath that surrounds it. This lack of blood supply can lead to degradation of collagen fibers and therefore inflammation. Tightness of the calf muscles is also been known to be involved in the onset Achilles tendinitis.
Symptoms can vary from an ache, or pain and swelling of the local area of the ankle, or a burning sensation that surrounds the whole joint. With this condition, pain is usually worse during and after activity, and the tendon and joint area may become stiffer the following day, as swelling negatively impacts the movement of the tendon and the ankle.
Plantar fasciitis is a disorder caused by the insertion site of the ligament on the bone, characterized by micro tears, breakdown of collagen, and scarring. This condition leads to pain at the bottom of the foot. The pain is usually most severe at the beginning of the day when arising out of bed, or after a period of downtime. Pain is also often brought on by bending the foot and toes upward, towards the shin, and may increase by a tight Achilles tendon. This condition is also associated with the inward rolling of the foot. The condition develops slowly and affects both legs in about one-third of individuals. Long periods of standing and increasing exercise are risk factors, as well as obesity.
The diagnosis is typically determined by symptoms and signs; the use of an ultrasound is sometimes used to help. When plantar fasciitis occurs, the pain is usually only on one side and is typically sharp. Rare but reported symptoms include numbness/tingling, swelling, or radiating pain. The plantar fascia can rupture if it continues to be overused in the setting of plantar fasciitis.
Typical signs and symptoms of a ruptured plantar fascia include a clicking or snapping sound, a significant amount of swelling, and acute pain at the bottom of the foot under the heel.
Risk factors for plantar fasciitis include standing on hard surfaces for lengthy periods of time, high arched feet, uneven leg length, flat feet, and excessive running. Flat feet tend to excessively roll inward during walking and running, making them more susceptible to plantar fasciitis. Obesity is seen in about 70% of individuals who are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. This has been found to be an independent risk factor towards the development of this disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that is long lasting and primarily affects the joints. It commonly results in warm, swollen, and painful joints. Most commonly, the wrist and hand are affected, however, the disease also involves other parts and joints of the body.
Although the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unclear, it involves a combination of environmental and/or genetic factors. The underlying cause leads the body’s immune system to attack the joints; directly affecting the bone and cartilage in the particular area. The diagnosis is primarily based on the person’s signs and symptoms, with the assistance of x-rays and laboratory testing.
The goal of treatment is to reduce pain, minimize inflammation, and improve the individual’s overall functioning. This is assisted by having a balanced amount of rest and exercise, uses of splints, braces, or assistive devices, and use of various medications, including steroids, NSAIDs, or the use of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs to slow down the advancement of the disease.
RA typically presents with signs of inflammation with the affected joints being swollen, warm, painful and stiff, particularly early in the morning upon awakening, or following prolonged activity.
Increased stiffness early in the morning is a prominent feature of this disease and typically last for more than an hour. As the pathology progresses, the inflammatory activity leads to tendon tethering with erosion and destruction of the joint surface.
This ultimately impairs range of movement and can lead to deformity. RA also can involve the skin, lungs, kidneys, heart, and vessels, as well as multiple other body systems. RA reduces lifespan an average from 3 to 12 years, but a positive response to treatment may indicate a better prognosis.
Early rheumatoid arthritis symptoms generally affect the smaller joints, including ankles and feet, and in most cases, the same joints on both sides of the body in a symmetrical fashion. RA synovitis can lead to tethering tissue which causes the loss of movement and erosion on the joint’s surface, causing deformity and decreased function. Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is made based on signs and findings, x-ray images, and blood tests.
Ligament injuries are sustained where an ankle sprain occurs which injures one or more ligaments of the ankle. This can include the anterior talofibular ligament, calcaneofibular ligament, deltoid ligament, or other intrinsic ligaments. When ankle ligaments are torn such as when sustaining an ankle sprain, blood vessels leak fluid into the tissue that surrounds the joint, and white blood cells will be attracted to the injured ligament area.
Along with this inflammation, swelling from the fluid and pain is experienced. Also, there is the diminished ability to move the ankle joint, and difficulty using the injured foot and ankle. The risk of the ankle ligament injury is greatest during activities that involve explosive side to side motion, such as athletic activities, and can occur during normal activities such as stepping off a curb or slipping on ice.
Returning to activity before the ligaments are fully healed may cause them to heal in a stretched out position, resulting in less stability at the ankle joint. This can lead to a condition known as chronic ankle instability, with an increased risk of future ankle sprains. Individuals can be predisposed to sustaining ankle ligament injuries with weak muscles/tendons, inadequate joint proprioception, running on uneven surfaces, utilizing shoes without adequate heal support or wearing high heeled shoes which place the ankle in a weak position, leaving the person susceptible to ankle sprains.
Good Candidates for Foot and Ankle Stem Cell Therapy
The wonderful thing about stem cell therapy is just about anyone can qualify for treatment. Any person with a foot or ankle injury or joint pain may be a good candidate if they are in generally good health, have one of the conditions mentioned above or general foot or ankle pain, and have realistic expectations of treatment. Reasonable expectations are knowing that treatment will help alleviate pain, but it is not guaranteed that the patient will be 100% pain-free; some patients do though. Men and women interested in foot and ankle stem cell treatment often want an alternative solution to invasive surgery.
How to Treat the Foot and Ankle with Stem Cells
Harvested adult adipose-derived stem cells are precisely injected into the affected foot or ankle joint under fluoroscopic guidance using local anesthesia. Once inside the joint, the stem cells begin to repair the cartilage in many ways. Stem cells make various soluble factors which can change the tissue environment in ways such as cytokines (controls joint inflammation) and growth factors that stimulate the repair of cartilage. The entire treatment shouldn’t take longer than an hour and a half. Patients are able to return home after treatment.
It is normal for the liposuctioned areas to be slightly bruised and swollen for a few days but these effects go away on their own. Pain medication can be prescribed for discomfort, but over-the-counter medication is usually sufficient. Ice packs can also help alleviate discomfort. Normal daily activities can be resumed in a matter of days, and more physical activities in a matter of weeks. This is far quicker than invasive surgical alternatives, and the results can be enjoyed much faster. Patients begin to feel less pain after a few months as the stem cell integrates with their new surrounding. The result will continually improve for 6 months.
Cost of Stem Cell Therapy
The cost of stem cell treatment varies between each individual patient because each case is unique. In order to receive a custom quote, contact the Stem Cell Institute of Los Angeles to request a consultation with Dr. Sean Younai or Dr. Bruce Fishman.
Schedule Your Consultation
The consultation is the time you will explain the pain or discomfort you are experiencing on your ankle or foot. An examination will be performed, and a diagnosis will then be drawn, determining if you are a good candidate for treatment. A custom procedural plan will be created based on the aforementioned finding, making sure you receive the best treatment and optimal results.
Why wait any longer? Request your consultation today at the Stem Cell Institute of Los Angeles and see if you qualify!