What is Human Amniotic Membrane?
Human amniotic membrane is a reproductive tissue composed of amnion and chorion. The amniotic membrane is formed after conception during the fetal maturation process. Amnion serves as the principle tissue separation between mother and child during pregnancy. The recovery of the placenta does not affect the baby or the delivery process. All donors are tested for infectious diseases, similar to the testing done for blood donation, and additional sterility testing is performed once the tissue has been processed.
Amniotic membrane in its native form has inherent properties that enhance the healing process. These properties include being immunoprivileged, modulating inflammation and reducing scar tissue formation. It is also recognised that amniotic membrane is a reservoir of multiple growth factors involved with tissue growth and regeneration. For these reasons amniotic membrane has been used for its therapeutic potential for wound healing, tissue repair, and regenerative therapy.
Does it Work?
As amniotic membrane injections are a new form of treatment for plantar fasciitis, there currently isn't much evidence to prove its efficacy. Nonetheless, there have been 3 clinical studies that have investigated this, all with promising results. If you would like to learn more about the details of these studies click here.
The concept of using amniotic membrane injections as a form of regenerative medicine in plantar fasciitis is both novel and exciting. Currently there are just 3 studies investigating the efficacy of these injections. All 3 of these studies were of good quality, however all 3 studies are not without their limitations. For example they were all funded by the producers of the amniotic membrane products so this could have influenced the published results. This early evidence demonstrated significant improvement for people with plantar fasciitis. An additional positive is the safety of the treatment with no negative side effects on the health of the plantar fascia tissue, unlike steroid injections. Also amniotic membrane injections are believed to help with the degenerative process involved in plantar fasciitis. As our knowledge around the underlying disease process of plantar fasciitis continues to improve, more and more treatments aimed at treating the degenerative process are becoming more readily available for example, shockwave therapy and PRP injections. Amniotic membrane injections may be another that can be added to the list.
Amniotic membrane injection therapy is not yet available in the UK, however there are a number of providers offering this treatment in the USA.