The Institute of Regenerative & Molecular Orthopaedics

Plantar Fascitis

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Plantar Fascitis, Stem Cell Orthopedic

Cell-Based Therapy for Plantar Fascitis

Plantar fascitis is a painful and debilitating condition that primarily affects athletes, people whose jobs require them to stand for long periods of time, and other people who put heavy stress on their feet. It involves inflammation of the plantar fascia, the strands of connective tissue that run along the sole of the foot, linking the heel of the foot to the ball and toes. It usually manifests as sharp pain in the heel or sole of the foot and an inability to flex the toes upward. If left untreated, it can lead to other and more severe orthopedic conditions, such as further foot, shin, and knee problems. It is estimated that at least a million people suffer this sort of heel pain.

There are many possible treatments for plantar fascitis, but physicians do not agree on the best way. Most physicians recommend some combination of orthopedic foot supports, physical therapy and stretching of the foot and leg, and injections of anti-inflammatory drugs such as cortisone, occasionally with ultrasound therapy. It is difficult to tell ahead of time what remedies will work in an individual case, and not everything works reliably for everyone. Surgery to release the tension on the plantar fascia is dangerous, since it risks damaging nerves or making the pain worse, and so is only used in cases that cannot be resolved any other way.

However, there is a new technique for dealing with this condition, pioneered by a few medical centers, including the National Institute of Regenerative Medicine. For the past two years, the Institute has been developing cell-based therapy for plantar fascitis and other bone, joint, and tendon injuries. Techniques can involve injecting your own cells, including growth factors and platelet-rich plasma, to treat the stressed connective tissue. These injections can work better than the traditional cortisone shots, since they not only soothe the pain, they can regenerate damaged tissue. Repeated cortisone shots can actually lead to further damage in the affected tendons, but that's not true of cell therapy.

If you suffer from this condition and have tried, and been left unsatisfied by, traditional orthopedic remedies, it may be worth your time to investigate cell therapy. There's no need to let your life be limited by foot pain, or risk even more damage to your feet and legs, when a safer, more reliable treatment is available.