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What are Orthobiologics?

Orthobiologics are natural substances such as cells, blood components, and growth factors typically used to speed up the healing of damaged tissues such as bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Orthobiologics may be obtained from your own body or a donor and are usually administered in the form of injections. They can be used in the treatment of Plantar Fasciitis.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a painful foot condition where the plantar fascia becomes inflamed from overstretching or overuse, causing pain in the heel and bottom of the foot. Repeated stress on the plantar fascia can also cause minor ligament tears and swelling making walking difficult.

How do Orthobiologics work?

Your body can heal most injuries by itself. However, your body's healing mechanism may struggle to keep up with the injuries caused by serious damage or aging. Orthobiologics can support and enhance your body's natural healing process and ensure a quick and effective recovery.

Orthobiologic Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis

The various orthobiologic treatments for plantar fasciitis include:

PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)

PRP is derived from your blood which is drawn from your arm and spun at high speeds in a centrifuge machine to separate out the platelets and plasma components. When the PRP is injected into a site of injury, the tissue is prompted to release growth factors and draw in additional cells to aid in the healing process.

Cell Therapy:

This therapy consists of the use of specialized cells derived from the bone marrow or abdominal fat of the body to aid in healing the damaged plantar fascia. These cells can differentiate into other cell types to regenerate tissue.

Of the various orthobiologics, cell therapy has the greatest potential for promoting healing. This therapy is increasingly being used in the treatment of orthopedic injuries and conditions and may be considered an alternative to surgery.

Orthobiologic Treatment Procedure for Plantar Fasciitis

The procedure begins with your doctor extracting specialized cells from your body. There are many sources of these specialized cells in your body. The most important source is bone marrow located in the center of long bones and the pelvic bones from where they are usually derived as this region has the highest concentration of these cells. However, these cells may also be harvested from natural fat deposits in your body such as the abdomen. Your doctor will choose the right source depending on your requirement and condition.

The procedure usually takes about half an hour depending on several factors. It is performed under local anesthesia. A highly sophisticated ultrasound instrument with enhanced needle visualization is used for the precise delivery of these cells.

During the procedure:

  • The area from where the cells are to be harvested is cleaned and numbed.
  • Using a special needle and syringe, fluid containing the cells is drawn from the source.
  • The fluid obtained is then spun in a centrifuge machine for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • This process helps obtain a concentrated layer of the specialized cells to be used for the treatment.
  • The injured plantar fascia is thoroughly cleaned and numbed.
  • The specialized cells are then injected into the damaged tissue under image guidance.

Post-Procedure Care

Post-procedure care will include the following instructions:

  • You will most likely be able to return to work the next day following your procedure.
  • You will need to take it easy and avoid any load-bearing activities for at least two weeks following your procedure.
  • You will need to refrain from taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for a while as this can affect the healing process of your body.
  • You may apply ice to the injection site for comfort.
  • Rest, elevation and medicines are recommended to relieve pain and swelling.
  • A follow-up appointment will be scheduled to monitor your overall progress.

Risks and Complications

Orthobiologic treatments for plantar fasciitis is a relatively safe procedure; however, as with any procedure, there may be some complications, such as:

  • Infection
  • Soreness at the injection site
  • Nerve damage
  • Immune reaction

Advantages of Orthobiologic Treatments

The advantages of the orthobiologic treatments include:

  • Simple, minimally invasive outpatient procedure
  • No hospitalization
  • No risk of rejection or infection
  • Faster healing and long-lasting recovery