One of the exciting things about working in the field of medicine is the fact that new technologies and therapies continually emerge so we can provide better care for our patients. A prime example of this is a new form of heel pain treatment known as Amniovo. This effective therapy has been used for world-class athletes, but you don’t need to play in the NBA to receive its remarkable benefits!
As is the case with many technological advances, Amniovo started out in a completely different area than how we use it in the field of podiatry. Initially, it was conceived as a way to use amniotic material (found in placenta lining) to help wounds heal more quickly, particularly those that were not healing at all. This regenerative biomaterial’s growth factors (including epidermal growth factor, transforming growth factor, and platelet derived growth factor) were delivered via a patch or wrap.
The amniotic membrane containing the valuable growth factors has been micronized, which means that it is broken down into an injectable version. Through this process, the product is able to maintain its properties that promote faster tissue regeneration and healing. We are routinely using amniotic tissue-derived products in Tenex surgery, our most common surgical procedure for heel pain. This is a short, outpatient procedure at one of our local hospitals.
As we look at the applications for this exciting heel pain treatment option, it can help to understand the injuries that it can help treat.
For adult patients, the most common source of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This condition develops when the plantar fascia—a tough, fibrous band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot and helps support the foot arch—is subjected to excessive force or physical stress. When this happens, tiny tears form in the fascia.
Plantar fasciitis pain is often experienced with the initial steps following extended periods of rest, especially a night’s sleep. This is because the body uses the downtime to start repairing the damaged tissue. When the tissue is not completely healed and steps are taken, the tears rip back open, which causes the sharp, intense pain.
Another source of heel pain is Achilles tendinitis. Much like with plantar fasciitis, this is an overuse injury that happens to soft tissue, in this case the Achilles tendon. This form of tendinitis is common for runners and “weekend warriors” (adults who often are sedentary during the week but engage in intense athletic activity on the weekends).
Amniovo and Athletes
This therapy can be effective for anyone, but is particularly appealing to athletes. It is a great adjunct with surgical procedures increasing their success rates and improving overall outcome. Whereas you do not have to be a professional athlete to receive this advanced heel pain treatment option, you may be interested in knowing that it has been used to treat professional basketball players in the NBA.
Amniotic tissue-derived matrix, such as Amniovo, is one form of heel pain treatment that we might recommend, but there are several other approaches we might use as well. Our treatment plan will depend on your unique situation, including foot structure and gait pattern. If you have any questions about care we provide for heel pain, simply give us a call at (516) 541-9000 or schedule an appointment at our Massapequa, NY office online today.