Regenerative medicine began decades ago with the first bone marrow transplant. In recent years, however, the field has rapidly advanced to produce regenerative treatments that can accelerate healing in a wide range of foot problems. Board-certified podiatrist Daniel Pero, DPM, at Integrative Foot and Ankle offers safe and effective regenerative treatments, such as platelet-rich therapy (PRP) and stem cell injections. To find out if your foot problem could improve with regenerative therapies, call the office in West Palm Beach or Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, or book an appointment online.
Platelets are naturally found in your blood. When you’re injured or develop a disease, platelets travel to the damaged tissues and release proteins called growth factors.
There are many different growth factors that each activate a specific activity. As a group, however, growth factors:
PRP contains a high concentration of platelets and just enough plasma to make the platelets injectable. Dr. Pero produces PRP in the office by drawing a sample of your blood and processing it in a centrifuge that separates the platelets from other cells.
Dr. Pero immediately injects your PRP at the site of your foot problem and the platelets boost the healing process.
Stem cells have the unique ability to self-replicate and produce a new cell that can develop into many different types of cells. Like platelets, stem cells migrate to the site of an injury, where they regenerate the cells needed to repair all the damaged tissues.
Several types of adult stem cells live throughout your body. One type called mesenchymal stem cells are used for treating foot conditions because they regenerate new muscle, tendon, ligament, collagen, cartilage, and skin cells.
Mesenchymal stem cells come from several sources. They’re abundant and easy to harvest from your own body fat or bone marrow. The cells are also found in amniotic fluid that mothers freely donate after delivering a healthy baby.
Like PRP, concentrated stem cells can treat foot problems when Dr. Pero injects a concentrated amount at the site of an injury or degenerative disease.
Dr. Pero may recommend regenerative medicine for any type of muscle, ligament, or tendon problem that doesn’t respond to conservative therapies.
A few conditions that respond well to PRP and stem cell injections include:
Regenerative treatments are especially beneficial for slow-healing conditions. Additionally, the extra platelets and stem cells can augment your body’s natural healing ability when it’s overwhelmed by a severe injury.
Amniotic fluid features high concentrations of some of the most fundamental cells in our body, including stem cells, proteins, cytokins and other important compounds. Studies have shown this fluid to be naturally regenerative with inflammation reducing properties. It may even help reduce the appearance of scars for some patients.
Amniotic fluid is the fluid surrounding a fetus in pregnancy. During most pregnancies, this fluid is thrown away after birth. Now, however, consenting mothers of cesarian section babies can donate this fluid. It is important to note, these cells come from the amniotic sac and are not part of the embryo.