Stem Cell Injections
What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are cells of the body which can divide and become differentiated. When an organism grows, stem cells specialise, and take specific functions. For instance, mature tissues like skin, muscle, blood, bone, liver, nerves, all have different types of cells. A stem cell is also responsible for tissue building and tissue repair. Stem cells can be found in bone marrow and body fat.
What is Stem Cell Injection Therapy?
Stem cell injection therapy involves harvesting the stem cells from the patients bone marrow with a small needle under local anaesthetic. The bone marrow is then spun in a special machine that ooncentrates the stem cells which are then injection back into the plantar fascia and surrounding tissue. It is said stem cell therapy promotes the repair response of diseased, dysfunctional or injured tissue.
Does it Work?
Stem cell therapy is growing in popularity in professional sports. Despite this there is only a small number of clinical studies investigating stem cell therapy for soft tissue disorders such as tendon disease and the quality of the clinical studies are very low. There is more evidence demonstrating success using stem cell therapy for knee osteoarthritis, however there are no published clinical studies investigating the use of stem cell therapy to treat plantar fasciitis specifically.
Stem cell therapy is another form of regenerative medicine, meaning that the treatment aims to promote healing of damaged tissue, instead of masking symptoms. Regenerative medicine is an attractice concept as it does not create harmful side effects unlike other treatments. Despite the attractiveness of the treatment, it is difficult to actively recommend a treatment that has such Iimited reserch behind it. Additionally the cost of the treatment is very high due to the need to harvest the stem cells and the use of expensive medical equipment to prepare it for injection so without knowing the success rate of this treatment it is hard to determine whether the treatment is cost effectieve. I think we will see regenerative medicines being used more frequently in the future. For now, we need more research to be conducted to further test the effectiveness of stem cell therapy.