Plantar Fasciitis Treated Using Stem Cells

Your heel hurts!  It hurts with the first steps out of bed, when you get up from a chair, and when you walk too long.  I gave you advice on stretching, ice, and prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication.  Often times we have to support that unstable arch of yours using custom foot orthoses.  What if your pain is still there?  Injecting steroids in the painful area, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, or even surgery are the traditional options remaining.  But what about stem cells?


The sensationalism of advertising and the media would lead you to believe that there are stem cells available for treatment of just about anything.  Is this true?  Lets look at some options:

  1. PRP (platelet rich plasma):  Blood is taken from a vein and spun in a centrifuge to separate the components.  One component would be the platelets and anything else that was relatively heavy circulating in your blood.  Would this include stem cells?  Most likely not!  The platelets contain growth factors which promote healing.  Injecting PRP into your heel would result in a time-release of numerous growth factors that could heal the inflammation that is your plantar fasciitis, thus making you feel better.
  2. Amniotic membrane derived products:  The amniotic membrane protects and covers a growing baby while inside the mother.  The placenta is part of this marvelous structure and is delivered with the baby in normal, healthy childbirth.  For this reason there is no controversy about using the placenta, as it would only be discarded if not used.  Placenta blood has long been known to contain stem cells used to treat leukemia and other illnesses.  Scientific studies have shown that there are cells very similar to stem cells in the placenta.  If you inject cells that were taken from a placenta, your body would not reject them because they are so immature.  Injecting the stem cells into an area of inflammation would in theory be able to heal the structure that is damaged or inflamed.  It has yet to be proven, but seems very promising that injecting these amnion derived products into your heel would completely resolve your plantar fasciitis.
  3. Bone marrow:  Time tested and proven, the bone marrow is the ultimate source of stem cells.  Unfortunately this requires a surgical procedure that can be painful and quite expensive.  This is probably not a reality in treating heel pain.

Now here is the kicker.  Because the scientific literature is not complete regarding using stem cells to treat plantar fasciitis, these treatments are not covered by your insurance.  That means you would have to pay for them.  These treatments are so new that not all physicians can provide them.  At Desert Foot Surgeons, we continue to advance as treatments become available.  If you have heel pain that has not responded to treatment, stem cells may be an option for you.

Ice Your Way to Flexibility

From the sidelines of your favorite sport to backyard games of touch football, applying ice to an injury is one of the key components of relieving inflammation.  We don’t often recommend the old “RICE”, rest, ice, compression, and elevation, method any longer, but ice remains a mainstay of treatment.

In this article you will learn more about how ice works to relieve inflammation.

Heel Pain Got You Down? Get Back Up Quick!

Pain in the heel of your foot is frustrating, isn’t it?  You are trying to do the right thing by hiking, walking, running, or getting back to the gym more regularly.  The problem is, your feet have been nice and cozy in those boots all winter.  Even in Arizona, shoes have been worn and your feet are kind of lazy, for lack of a better term.  The sudden increase in activity is a harsh awakening to your feet and the muscles let you know it by causing pain.

Think of it this way:  when you exercise your muscles are working extra hard and reach the point of fatigue.  The next day or two your muscles let you know they have been worked hard by causing stiffness and a little pain.  Well, walking is exercise to the muscles in your feet.  The arch pain is nothing more than your muscles having been worked to fatigue.  If you try these next few steps you most likely will successfully get rid of this heel pain.

There are three key steps to relieving heel pain:

  1. Stretching:  see “Heel Pain Treatments: The Basics, part 2”
  2. Ice:  see “Heel Pain Treatments: The Basics, part 1”
  3. Anti-inflammatory medication:  As I always say, “You can’t heal until the inflammation is gone!”.  If you have no problems taking aspirin-like medication try taking over the counter ibuprofen.  If this makes the pain better, than a prescription for more effective strength anti-inflammatory medication might just knock out your inflammation in less than 10 days.

Don’t let your heel pain get you down.  You are doing the right thing for your body.  Don’t hesitate, come see us at Desert Foot Surgeons and get back on your feet!

Eli Manning gets good advice, you should too

Eli Manning Gets Good Advice For Heel Pain


On October 5th Eli Manning, the quarterback for the New york Giants, was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis after limping off the field in the 4th quarter the day before.  In the NFL pregame show October 18th the treatment for Eli’s condition was discussed.  On the advice of an old football coach he is wearing cowboy boots during the day, using plantar fascia night splints, and wearing custom foot orthotics in his cleats.

Think about this, Eli Manning, a world champion quarterback, franchise quarterback for the New York Giants, brother of Peyton Manning and son of Archie Manning, has possibly the best medical care available second only to the president of the United States, but he is taking the advice of a former coach. Why? One simple reason, the advice is good!

Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury resulting in heel and arch pain. Wearing cowboy boots takes the strain off of the plantar fascia. Dr. Geller always says, “You can’t begin to heal until the inflammation has gone away”. Taking the stress off the Achilles tendon by wearing cowboy boots plus the physical therapy the Giants training staff is providing for Eli is doing just that.

At Desert Foot Surgeons we often use splints at night. The plantar fascia night splint keeps the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia stretched while you sleep. If you get the severe sharp pains when you get out of bed in the morning this is what night splints are used for. If you can get rid of that morning “zinger” your day will be better.

The overuse part of Eli’s injury and anyone’s plantar fasciitis involves pronation or lowering of the arch. To review pronation is the normal shock absorbing motion of the foot. The foot rolls to the inside, the arch lowers and the heel turns out. This is good, we want to be able to absorb shock when we walk and run. Of course too much of a good thing is bad. When your arch is still lowering at a time when it should be stable is bad and leads to injury. Custom molded foot orthotics prevent abnormal flattening of the arch and heal the plantar fasciitis. Dr. Geller uses video gait analysis and a detailed examination to make the perfect custom molded foot orthotic that will keep your foot stable when walking.

Below are stretching and icing instructions Desert Foot Surgeons has available for patients with plantar fasciitis. Hopefully Eli won’t find this website before the Giants play the Cardinals.