If you're struggling with heel pain, you should talk to a podiatrist. The doctor can diagnose the cause of the pain and recommend treatment. There are multiple treatments for heel pain, so your doctor has options for helping you heal and for relieving pain. Regenerative heel pain treatments are sometimes used, and you might want to talk to your doctor about whether these treatments are right for you. Here are three regenerative treatments used for heel pain and how they're done.
1. Prolotherapy Injections
Prolotherapy involves injecting a dextrose or saline solution into your heel to stimulate the natural healing process of your body. It's thought the injection irritates the tissues and causes your body to switch to repair mode and work on healing your injury.
Heel pain is often caused by inflammation and micro-tears in the plantar fascia, so healing the tears could reduce swelling and make your heel pain go away. You might need to have multiple injections to bring about complete pain relief.
2. Stem Cell Injections
Stem cells for the purpose of regenerative medicine are often taken from your hip bone, although they can also be derived from your fat. They can be taken from your bone by using a needle right before the cells are separated in a centrifuge and injected into your heel. Since the cells come from your own body, the risk of complications is low.
Stem cells are known to be the repair cells of your body. They work to repair what damage they come across, so when they're injected into your damaged heel, they go to work repairing tears in your plantar fascia. These cells work to stimulate the natural healing process of your body.
3. PRP Injections
Platelet-rich plasma is similar to stem cell therapy, except instead of using stem cells, the doctor injects plasma that's concentrated with platelets. The plasma comes from your own blood that's drawn during your office visit. The blood separates as it's spun in a centrifuge. The plasma containing the platelets is then used for the injection in your heel.
Platelets stimulate tissue healing. So by getting the injections in your heel, your body is triggered into healing your plantar fascia. This heel pain treatment may not offer immediate relief. Instead, results come on gradually as your fascia heals itself.
Your podiatrist can help you decide if regenerative heel pain treatments are right for you. These treatments may not be covered under your insurance policy, so you'll want to discuss cost as well. You may prefer regenerative treatments if you like the idea of healing naturally, but if the heel pain treatments are not right for you, your podiatrist can choose from a number of other options such as shockwave therapy or ultrasound treatments.