Ankle Reconstruction: Stem Cell Treatments Applications to Charcot Foot


Image Credit: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News

An ankle injury is statistically identified as a major point of weakness in an athlete’s ability to perform at their peak. Candidates who have ever suffered from chronic pain, are suitable for minimally invasive surgery. Minimally invasive procedures have a rapid turnaround time, and facilitate the ability for optimum restored mobility within a short span of time. Ankle reconstruction surgery is the ideal path for you if desire a long span of time in your sporting activity. If you have attempted previous therapies and still suffer from chronic pain, this procedure is for you.  

Envisioning your ankle as a hinge, the joint is supported by various tissues and muscles, cartilage, and over time wear and tear due to physical stresses can cause the joint to operate at less than its optimal capability. What minimally invasive surgeries do via ankle reconstruction, is to restore the ankle ligaments via tightening them. This provides the needed support, as well as the internal resistance needed to keep the joint in good working order. With the appropriate amount of tension within the joint, the ankle will be restored to its peak. Consult with your foot and ankle surgeon for full details of your what your procedure would entail. 

Ankle Ligament Reconstruction Surgery

Within the ankle reconstruction sphere, there are various iterations of the Brostrum procedure which is a type of keyhole surgery that facilitates the tightening of the ankle ligaments. With time, the expansion of the treatment options also includes an option to repurpose a tendon, in order to facilitate the internal tension restoration in the hinge. Statistically, up to 85% of all ankle injuries involve the lateral ankle ligament complex. With the two aforementioned procedures, the prevention of downstream problems such as degenerative arthritis will be the ultimate advantage. With life expectancies increasing, mobility will be critical. Orthopaedic surgeons will be the key to ensuring that your feet are in good health. 

Within your ankle, there are three main ligaments: 

-the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL)

-the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL) 

-the posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL) 

The most commonly affected during sprains is the ATFL. Using a little physics and engineering, your orthopaedic surgeon will assess in detail, the extent of damage that has been experienced by the injury in question. Based on the dimensions of the feet, detailed calculations will be done, identifying what the restored dimensions of the feet should be. If there is adequate tissue to reconstruct the foot, the surgical procedures will be executed by your foot and ankle surgeon. 

Advances in orthopaedic surgery have identified reconstructive techniques to be quite efficient. The ultimate results indicated by both the patient experience and their x-rays, have indicated that ankle instability is generally restored. The majority of athletes who underwent the treatment were able to return to their sport within a few months of the procedure. Treatment takes approximately three months. During this interim, there are plenty of activities that you can use to keep yourself engaged in the healing process. Gentle exercises will be prescribed by your foot and ankle surgeon that will facilitate your peak joint restoration. 

Article reference:

Ankle Reconstruction Surgery:

Charcot Stem Cell Treatment

Charcot foot is defined as a neuropathy induced condition which results in the weakening of the ankle joint, and ultimately the flattening of the feet. Neuropathy patients often can’t feel their extremities due to nerve damage, and ultimately end up deforming the foot as the joint collapses. This condition is quite serious, and several treatments have been proposed, that facilitate the restoration of balance in the body. 

Treatment options include surgical reconstruction of the foot, and bracing for milder conditions. With time, treatments evolve, and Charcot Foot Treatments have been coupled with bone regeneration and repair treatments via the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). Stem cell therapy is an evolving phenomenon, which is having widespread applications in medical therapy, and orthopaedics is not exempt.

The beauty of the MSC’s is their ability to differentiate into the relevant cells needed for healing the ankle site, once they are introduced. The MSCs evolve into osteoblasts, and are critical to the restoration. In situations where the bone tissue is significantly reduced for various reasons, the MSC have proven to be quite effective in their restoration of the ankle site. The complications that diabetes induced charcot foot inherently carries, are overcome by the ability to the MSCs to suit their current environment and adapt to the needs of the body as it heals. 

Scientific studies, linked below, identified the benefits gained by diabetic Charcot foot patients who coupled reconstructive surgery with MSC grafting. The studies idenfied accelerated healing of up to approximately 60% improvement compared to patients who were not treated with MSC treatments. As science and technology advances, the utilization of stem cell treatments in the treatment of Charcot foot is proving to be an effective therapy that is expecting to improve with time. In the treatment process, a scaffold is inserted into the healing site, which houses the MSC, and facilitates the generation of the ideal healing attributes for bone regeneration. These are identified as: osteoinductive, osteoconductive, and osteogenic. As treatments advance, you can generate a brand new you in your quest for healing. 

Talk to your orthopaedic surgeon, and discuss the option of including stem cell treatments into your health management process. With their regenerative properties, joint restoration is much closer than you think. 

Section Reference: 

Stem Cell Applications in Diabetic Charcot Foot and Ankle Reconstructive Surgery:

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