Ankle Injuries and Pain

When the ligaments that hold the bones of the ankle joint together are partially torn or stretched, as in the case of a bad sprain or repeated minor sprains, they can become painful, loose, and weak.  This changes how you walk, putting painful stress on other joints of the foot, as well as making it more likely that you will sprain the ankle again.  This leads to a cycle of chronic pain and instability.

Ankles are the anchors of your support system for your body, and with such a big job to do, can be sources of pain and injury. Your ankle is an intricate network of bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles. You may feel ankle pain on the inside or outside of your ankle or along the Achilles tendon, which connects the muscles in your lower leg to your heel bone. Although mild ankle pain often responds well to home treatments, it can take time to resolve. Severe ankle pain should be evaluated by a doctor, especially if it follows an injury. Below are some common ankle injuries and pain syndromes that have been treated by some physicians with adult stem cell therapy.

Osteoarthritis of the Ankle

Osteoarthritis of the ankle usually occurs in ankles that have experienced trauma, infection, or injury. A smooth, slippery, fibrous connective tissue, called articular cartilage, acts as a protective cushion between bones. Arthritis develops as the cartilage begins to deteriorate or is lost. As the articular cartilage is lost, the joint space between the bones narrows. This is an early symptom of osteoarthritis of the ankle and is easily seen on X-rays.

As the disease progresses, the cartilage thins, becoming grooved and fragmented. The surrounding bones react by becoming thicker. They start to grow outward and form spurs. The synovium (a membrane that produces a thick fluid that helps nourish the cartilage and keep it slippery) becomes inflamed and thickened. It may produce extra fluid, which causes additional swelling. Learn more…

Ankle Instability

In the ankle, the restraining lateral ligaments can become stretched, leading to a sense of instability and may cause frequent ankle sprains. Surgery is typically not necessary. Patients are often treated with physical therapy to strengthen the muscles that support the ankle. At times, ankle instability can be treated simply by avoiding strenuous activity and by using a brace to decrease the risk of more ankle sprains.

In more extreme cases, surgery is required to repair or reconstruct the ligaments supporting the outside of the ankle. As an alternative, the use of stem cell treatment can also be used to improve the ankle’s stability, often allowing the patient to carry on with their normal routines without experiencing any downtime. Learn more…

Peroneal Tendon Tear or Split

The peroneal tendons are the two tendons on the outside of the ankle that attach the muscles to the bones. Peroneal tendon problems commonly occur from an ankle sprain. A tear or split in one or both of them can occur after repetitive trauma or overuse. Pain, swelling, and weakness (or instability) of the foot or ankle are all signs of a tear. At times, it can cause the arch of the foot to increase in height.

Surgery is usually not considered for peroneal tendon problems until it has become impossible to control the symptoms without it. In this instance, the tendon tissue can usually be sewn back together with sutures. If more than half of the tendon is torn, the surgeon will perform a tenodesis, cutting the damaged portion of the tendon away and suturing the remaining portion to the other peroneal tendon next to it. The most common tenodesis procedure for peroneal tendon tears involves sewing the end of the peroneus brevis to the intact peroneus longus.

A peroneal tear or split can also be repaired through the use of stem cell therapy, using the patient’s own stem cells to heal the injury with a minimally invasive same-day procedure. Learn more…

Ligament Sprain or Tear

A sprain is a stretch or a tear in the bands of tissue that connect our bones at the joints, called ligaments. Ligaments stabilize and support the body’s joints. Sprains typically happen when the ankle is twisted or rolled to the point of overstretching or rupturing the ligaments. Pain, bruising, swelling, and inflammation are all common symptoms of a sprain. A severe sprain can cause a ligament to tear completely or separate from the bone, producing excruciating pain at the moment of injury and leaving the joint non-functional.

Rest, ice, compression, and elevation will usually help minimize the damage, although a medical evaluation is recommended to check for more serious damage. Mild sprains and tears may require rehabilitation exercises, but a more severe sprain or tear may require surgery or immobilization, followed by a period of physical therapy. Another known treatment of tears in a ligament is the use of stem cell injection, to allow the injury to heal itself from the inside. Stretching, building muscle, and wearing properly fit shoes can help prevent a sprain. Learn more…

Subtalar Arthritis or Instability

The subtalar joint is the joint below the ankle that allows us to bend the ankle back and forth and walk on uneven terrain. Arthritis or instability of the subtalar joint causes uncomfortable, sometimes excruciating pain in the back of the foot or ankle, typically described as being “deep.” The most common cause of subtalar arthritis is usually a previous injury or fracture to the heel bone, but can also be due to an abnormal alignment of the heel bone or from excessive wear and tear on the joints from overactive use.

Treatment usually involves limiting joint movement by wearing a brace or comfortable shoe, decreasing standing or walking on uneven terrain, or taking anti-inflammatory pain medication to alleviate any swelling or irritation. Regenerative medicine, such as a stem cell injection is an option for some patients, with very little rehabilitation afterward. Surgery is indicated for subtalar arthritis or instability when all non-operative treatment has failed. The most common surgical procedure used is a fusion of the subtalar joint to improve ankle function and relieve pain. Learn more…

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused by anything that produces compression on the posterior tibial nerve, which is the nerve that provides sensation to the bottom of the foot. Having flat feet or severe swelling from an ankle injury can create this compression. Symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome include numbness, a tingling or burning sensation, and a shooting pain in the foot. A clinical exam, including x-rays, is critical in diagnosing the severity of the condition.

In less severe cases, non-surgical treatment is recommended by using steroid injections or anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pressure and swelling. Braces, splints, and other orthotic devices can be used to limit movement and reduce pressure on the foot that can cause compression to the tibial nerve. In more severe cases, a surgical procedure called a tarsal tunnel release may be performed to decrease pressure on the nerve from the overlying ligament. As an alternative to surgery, stem cell technology may help regenerate damaged tissue by injecting stem cells from the patient’s own fat cells or bone marrow directly into the injured tissue. Learn more…

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a long, thin ligament that connects the heel to the front of the foot. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia becomes irritated and inflamed, causing pain on the bottom of the heel. This usually occurs first thing in the morning, but can also affect you after long periods of standing or sitting. Plantar fasciitis most commonly happens to people that do a lot of standing on hard surfaces, like factory workers or school teachers. On the other hand, it can also be caused by flat feet, high arches, or obesity.

Diagnosed with a physical exam and x-rays, plantar fasciitis will typically be treated with physical therapy, medication, foot-bracing, or cortisone injections. Unfortunately, symptoms often return in a high percentage of patients when treated in this fashion. While surgery to cut the plantar fascia is an option, it often results in a gradual destruction of the arch, which can eventually collapse. Surgery should be used as a last resort. A much safer and long-lasting approach to heal the injury is through the use of regenerative treatments, like proliferation or stem cell therapy. Learn more…

Bunions

When the big toe pushes against the next toe, the joint can start to stick out and form a bunion. Bunions are a progressive disorder that gradually get larger as the angle of the joint changes. Most commonly caused by an inherited structural defect, bunions can also be attributed to a foot injury or birth defect. Symptoms of bunions include a burning or numbing sensation, inflammation or redness, and sometimes even pain. These symptoms occur most often when wearing shoes that crowd the toes, which can also progress the “growth” of a bunion. That said, bunions are more commonly found in women that frequently wear high-heeled or box-toed shoes.

Bunion deformities cannot be reversed, but there are many non-surgical methods to reduce the pain and inflammation. Changes in shoe-wear, icing, and padding are all examples of this. Sometimes, avoiding standing for long periods of time can also reduce the chances of soreness. Stem cell therapy is an option for some patients suffering from bunion symptoms. If non-surgical treatment does not relieve the pain of bunions, surgery may be done to help restore normal alignment to the toe joint. Learn more…

LAURA MALLERY-SAYRE

“Thanks to MedRebels and the amazing research and orthopedic successes utilizing adult stem cells, my pain is gone! I’m euphoric about my success and forever an avid supporter of adult stem cell therapies.”
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Jessica Wunsch

“Somewhere around the fourth week, post procedure, I noticed a dramatic turn of events. I was no longer stiff. I had more range of motion. I got out of bed and was pain free! I exercised and felt better!”
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