Regenerative Medicine Applications in Ankle and Foot – Amniotic Membrane and Injection

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At Advanced Ankle and Foot, we are excited to offer safe, innovative and natural treatments that can help our patients overcome various types of ankle and foot pathology such as tendonitis, plantar fasciitis as well as reducing the pain and dysfunction associated with arthritis. For many of our patients with these ankle and foot diagnosis, traditional treatment measures have been tried and failed. Other patients are just looking to avoid or delay surgery.

In our last month’s blog, we talked about Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). The second type of regenerative injection we are using at Advanced Ankle and Foot is derived from fetal membranes, specifically called the amniotic membrane (“amnio”). This protective layer has numerous growth factors and is taken from healthy mothers who have donated these tissues after Cesarean sections. Remember that growth factors act like espresso shots for cells, making them work harder to repair damage. The membrane then undergoes a thorough cleansing and purifying process, and the final stage involves processing the membrane into a cryopreserved matrix or stable dehydrated powder. The concern with the processing technique resulting in a dehydrated powder is that it can lead to the destruction of the very elements of the amniotic membrane that are integral in healing.

The goal of amnio is three-fold: reduce inflammation (hence decrease and/or alleviate pain and swelling), reduce scar tissue formation (hence quicker recovery and acceptable cosmetic result) and enhance the healing of micro-tears in soft tissue (hence allowing earlier return to daily life activities and negating need for surgery). Although musculoskeletal application in the foot and ankle is relatively new, amniotic membrane has been used extensively in other fields of medicine (such as healing wounds, treating burns, gynecologic surgery, eye surgery etc ) with very rare side effects. “Rejection” of this tissue is not known to occur. This product is an alternative to PRP, or it may be used in conjunction with PRP.

At Advanced Ankle and Foot, we will continue to be pioneers in offering many cutting-edge options. However we also recognize that not everyone with foot or ankle pain or injury is a candidate for amniotic membrane and fluid therapy. If you are interested in learning more about this non-surgical modality to help repair a foot or ankle injury such as tendonitis, fracture, tendon rupture etc, please contact us.

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