In one of our earlier blogs, we discussed what regenerative medicine is and how it can be used to help treat conditions like plantar fasciitis and tendonitis. Today, I would like tell you a story about how we used one of these treatments in an “outside-the-box” kind of way.
Regenerative Medicine for Neuroma Pain?
Regenerative therapies (stem cell injections, platelet rich plasma, AmnioFix injections, etc.) are often used to heal chronically damaged tendons, ligaments, and joints or to help stimulate bone healing.
These injections are safe and effective for many chronic complaints, but for whatever reason are often not used on one of the most common causes of foot pain: neuromas. A neuroma is a chronically pinched nerve in the ball of the foot that can cause significant pain and numbness.
Physicians will often treat neuromas with steroid injections, orthotics, and in more severe cases, with surgery. Today, I will share how we successfully treated a neuroma using a regenerative therapy injection.
Trouble After Surgery
This patient is a 70-year-old active female. Let’s call her Susan. Susan came to see me after another doctor performed surgery on her foot. Her surgery involved hammertoe corrections of the 2nd and 3rd toes. There had been some issues with her healing which resulted in her 2nd and 3rd toes crossing over one another.
Her main complaint however, was pain and numbness of the ball of her foot. After her physical exam, she had findings consistent with a neuroma and we started to discuss options. Because of her previous experience, she did not want to have surgery. She had already had steroid injections before, and those did not provide any relief.
Worth A Shot
I suggested that Susan consider a regenerative injection adjacent to the pinched nerve. The goal would be to stimulate healing to the nerve and any damaged surrounding tissue. I explained to her that this was not to my knowledge a common use for this treatment, but it would be worth a shot (pun intended).
She was feeling adventurous, and we decided to go ahead with the treatment. The injection was placed through the top of her foot using ultrasound guidance and was infiltrated right next to the nerve, using caution to not inject the nerve itself. I placed Susan in a walking boot for one week and then told her to return to her regular shoes and activity after that.
Three Weeks Later
At Susan’s follow up appointment three weeks later, she was doing very well and reported no pain.
I was happy for her but still had my concerns about how long that relief would last. However, I was excited to see her two months later, and she was still pain free. We had previously discussed possible surgical options if her pain did not improve. But, due to the success of the regenerative treatment, we have taken that discussion off the table for now, much to her delight.
Avoid Surgery, Get Relief
As I said before, to my knowledge this is not a common use of regenerative medicine. As time passes and more research is done on this subject, that may change. For now, I look at it as a promising option for patients with chronic pain, especially if they are suffering from issues that can be difficult to treat.
For Susan, this was just what she needed to avoid surgery and get relief.
To learn more about regenerative medicine, click here.
If you are experiencing chronic injuries or unresolved pain, please come see us! We can help.