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The single biggest cause of ankle arthritis is chronic instability. This is usually due to an ankle sprain, where someone seems to have recovered, but the ligaments that protect the ankle joints are stretched. When this happens more than once, the problem gets magnified. Over time, slight motions in the ankle leads to breakdown in the joint and arthritis develops. As one continues to walk or run on an arthritic ankle joint, the problem worsens and the pain intensifies. Soon, not only can you not run, but walking becomes a big problem.

Traditionally, a person with a painful arthritic ankle would go for a steroid injection. Steroids however only make the problem worse. They may give you short-term pain relief, but in the long run they damage the joint further by eliminating all of your natural healing cells that are present in the joint. The old orthopedic model was to inject the joint with steroids until this no longer provided pain relief, and then to replace or fuse the joint.

Stem cells can restore normal function of an arthritic joint in two ways. Stem cells are repair cells that are held in reserve until needed. We all have millions of stem cells in our body and we continue to replenish these during our entire life. When we extract these and place them into an arthritic joint, they have the ability to differentiate into new cells which can help grow new tissue. Even more importantly however, stem cells orchestrate a repair response which makes the internal environment of a painful arthritic joint, a healthy one. A healthy joint not only hurts less, but functions better. This leads to people being able to enjoy the healthy lifestyle that we all strive to achieve.

Stem cells can significantly help an arthritic ankle, or arthritic foot and toe joints. By making these joints healthier, pain will decrease and function will rise. So don’t let your painful arthritic ankle prevent you from leading an active lifestyle, call us today at 412-963-6480 or visit our website to learn more!

– Dr. Marc Adelsheimer

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