Injection therapy of the painful ankle has progressed dramatically in the past decade and The Ankle Arthritis Institute is proud to be at the forefront of some of the newest and most revolutionary ankle arthritis treatment options.
Although steroid injections can help relieve inflammatory pain at the ankle they are little long term use. The injection, which is a mixture of steroid and anesthetic, is placed directly into the ankle joint to give a strong local anti-inflammatory action. The relief offered from the injections can vary from patient to patient but it can be helpful in small doses. Too many injections may thin the remaining cartilage and weaken the bone. Our institute prefers to try regenerative options to steroid injection. Instead of calming inflammation on a temporary basis, we attempt to allow the body to heal the damaged region with stem cell and healing platelet rich material.
Our preferred ankle arthritis treatment is a combination of natural anti-inflammatory medications and regenerative tissue healing options that can actually relieve pain for a longer sustained period of time and also help the body heal itself. Hyaluronic acid, platelet rich plasma, stem cell therapy and amniotic stem cells are used alone or in combination to customize a treatment option for each individual patient's needs.
Hyaluronic acid is a natural component of cartilage and injections of this substance (Supartz) can help to lubricate the joint and allow increased mobility and motion at the joint. This substance does not replace cartilage but helps to reduce rubbing and grinding of bone at the ankle joint. It is not helpful in severely arthritic joints that show no joint space on radiographs. There has been a decrease in inflammation noted with use of hyaluronic acid and this may be due to the decreased bone on bone rubbing. Often hyaluronic acid is combined with platelet rich plasma or stem cell therapy options to increase the efficacy of a personalized "cocktail".
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) has allowed for increased healing of the body by using the healing cells of the body to treat and remedy the damaged tissue. From ligament and tendon damage to cartilage and bone damage, platelets are the healing cells of the body and essential for proper function. PRP is extensively used at our Institute to increase the healing potential of the body. By injecting the patient's own platelets into the damaged tissue, an inflammatory response from the body is started that allows the patient's healing cells to realize there is damage to the tissue and help with healing of the damaged region.
Stem Cell Therapy at the Ankle Arthritis Institute is a revolutionary approach to ankle arthritis. Stem cells are the building blocks of the body and responsible for all healing in the entire body. From bone to cartilage to liver cells, all healing in the body organs is from a concentration of stem cells. Stem cells from fat or bone marrow, or in certain cases amniotic stem cells from a placental membrane, are concentrated and injected into the damaged joint, ligament or tendon region. These cells will then begin to multiply and attempt to heal the damaged region. Often there is a decrease in pain and swelling with stem cell therapy which results in rapid early pain relief while the prolonged healing factors from the stem cells help to reconstruct the damaged tissue region.