At Alliance Foot & Ankle, we work hard to stay up-to-date on evolving science and new treatments that may help you. Regenerative stem cell therapy has been used during surgical procedures for many years, but recently it’s uses have expanded and include multiple common foot and ankle issues.
How Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy Works
Stem cells are cells that are “blank.” They aren’t programmed to fulfill a particular function -- yet. Most of your stem cells are in your bone marrow and gastrointestinal tract, though they are in other places as well. Stem cells develop into other types of cells, depending on what your body needs.
For example, when you have a wound, and stem cells are injected into it, they become tissue cells and help your wound heal. Stem cells have been used during surgeries for many years to help patients heal more quickly. They are also used in some cosmetic applications to improve the look of skin or to stimulate collagen growth.
Diabetes and Stem Cell Therapy
If you have diabetes, you are likely aware of the many potential foot problems you face. Stem cell therapy is an effective treatment for conditions such as diabetic ulcers, and there’s promising research into using it to treat diabetic neuropathy.
Diabetic foot ulcer is a complication of diabetes and can result from several causes. For example, if you have a foot wound that becomes infected, you may develop a diabetic foot ulcer. It can be difficult to treat and often precedes amputation.
Stem cell therapy may be an effective treatment for diabetic foot ulcers because they can encourage your body to regenerate the damaged tissue and begin to heal. In treating diabetic foot ulcers, your doctor will most likely use stem cells from your bone marrow, called marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells.
The research into using stem cells to treat neuropathy is much less well-developed, but promising. Researchers have performed several animal studies with impressive results, but the treatment is not yet available for humans. In the existing studies, the stem cells provided an analgesic, or pain-relieving, effect and appeared to help damaged nerve cells begin to repair themselves.
This is an area of research that the providers at Alliance Foot & Ankle are following closely.
Soft Tissue Problems
Problems such as Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis have to do with the soft tissues in your foot and ankle being torn or stretched. Stem cell therapy may be an appropriate treatment for those kinds of conditions.
Several recent studies concluded that stem cell therapy speeds tendon healing, and scientists are exploring ways to make the therapy even more effective.
Regenerative stem cell therapy is proving to be an effective treatment for some conditions that have historically been challenging to treat. Further research is sure to refine the treatment even more. You can be certain that the doctors and staff at Alliance Foot & Ankle are alert to scientific developments in an effort to provide the most appropriate, effective treatment for you.
If you’re interested in learning whether regenerative stem cell therapy might be right for you, book your appointment at Alliance Foot & Ankle today. Scheduling online or by phone is quick and easy!