Stem Cells Speed Healing, Cure Foot Arthritis

April 3, 2015 Updated: October 8, 2018

NEW YORK—Several years ago at a podiatric conference, Dr. Jeffery Adler learned that stem cells were being used to treat foot problems. Even though he recalls that almost no other podiatrists at the conference were interested, he thought the stems cells “seemed like something good” for his patients.

And his hunch has paid off. Fast-forward to today and Adler now uses stem cells to treat ulcers, repair torn ligaments and tendons, and cure arthritis of the ankle and big toe.

He also conducts ongoing clinical trials on stem cell treatments, lectures nationally, and on the day he spoke with Epoch Times, had just given his 15-year-old granddaughter a stem cell treatment for torn tendons in her foot.

“She’ll do fine, it will heal,” he said with the confidence that comes with having injected stem cells over 800 times. “It’s really amazing because stem cells change into everything.”

Stem cells are cells that have the potential to become almost any material in the body depending on where they are injected—anything from bone, to blood, to skin, to brain cells.

Two Big Benefits

Two big benefits of stem cell treatments, Adler said, are that they dramatically increase healing speed and—as long as patients correct how they place their weight on their feet—stem cells allow him to cure arthritis in the big toe and ankle in 100 percent of cases. In the past his success rate was 30 to 40 percent.

Adler said that in three years, not one of this combination treatments of weight bearing correctives and stem cells has failed. This “combination has a magic effect” he said.

Typical podiatric treatments for big toe arthritis include modified footwear, injections of anesthesia and steroids that temporarily reduce pain and swelling, or surgery that destroys the big toe joint by cutting off “both the base of the toe and the head of the metatarsal.” 

Surgery is followed by multiple injections of with an animal-based cartilage replacement, hyaluronic acid. Sometimes podiatrists place a stent in the joint, but these tend not to last because of the amount of stress on the joint, Adler said. If the patient is older, a podiatrist might fuse the toe joint, leaving it completely stiff.

Two big benefits of stem cell treatments, Adler said, are that they dramatically increase healing speed and—as long as patients correct how they place their weight on their feet—stem cells allow him to cure arthritis in the big toe and ankle in 100 percent of cases

With stem cell treatments, Adler makes a surgical fracture, cleans out the arthritic bone and scar tissue, then injects stem cells into the joint.

The extra space created by the fracture and bone and tissue removal, “takes the pressure off the cartilage, which allows it to heal.”

The stem cells “recognize damaged cartilage and support it,” helping the body regrow tissues and healthy new cartilage, he said.

In his clinical studies, Adler has found that stem cells improve healing speed by several months.

“We found most of the stiffness of the big toe joint went away between three to four months earlier than it usually goes away when we don’t use stem cells. We found that the pain post-operatively diminishes, because the stem cells have a pain relieving effect,” Adler said.

He gave one example of a severely arthritic toe case where stems cells made healing happen in four months, when usually “with a joint that severe, we wouldn’t see that type of clearance for about a year.”

One limitation of stem cells Adler said is that they are so good at regrowing things, they could, if injected improperly, regrow more than you want. This is especially the case with bone.

“I’ve used it [stem cell treatment] once or twice on slow healing bone, but … I’m always a little reticent with that because I don’t want to create too much bone,” he said, adding that he’s open evaluating further research about using stem cells in bone when it’s available.

Stem Cell Source

Adler uses live-birth stem cells, which are collected from the innermost membrane of placentas (the part closest to the baby), when a baby is born via cesarean. This is an FDA-approved process, he said, the mother’s consent is obtained beforehand, and she is screened for communicable diseases.

Adler prefers using placental stem cells to a person’s own stem cells, because stem cells from older people  have less potency. “Your stem cells—even in a young person—are beat. To get the real action that you want from the stem cell … you need these very young stem cells,” he said.

 “That’s when they’re the most potent and have the chance to change into the type of tissue you want them to change into.”

 

Adler Footcare Office Locations

Manhattan

25 W. 45th St., Suite 402

New York, NY 10036

 

White Plains

34 S. Broadway, Suite 504

White Plains, NY 10601

 

(800) 366-8362

MyNYCPodiatrist.com

 

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