Joint Preservation Blog

January 11, 2009

Plantar Fasciitis Foot Brace

 

plantar fascia support brace

plantar fascia support brace

 

As a doctor, I have seen many patients have a difficult time understanding plantar fasciitis. Think of the plantar fascia as a piece of duct tape that travels along the bottom of your foot from your heel to the bottom of your toes.  It’s job is to support the normal arch in your foot, especially when you put weight on the foot.   As this piece of duct tape (plantar fascia) gets too much stress (due to extra weight on the person or too much force from changes in the way the foot moves), the heel area where it attaches can get easily overloaded and become painful.  A plantar fasciitis foot brace is therefore simple, it’s something that helps reduce the extra stress on the duct tape.  However, rather than bracing the plantar fascia, we often find that it’s much more effective to fix the problem.  How?  We strengthen the duct tape!  That can be as simple as taking the patients own adult stem cells and injecting them into the heel area under x-ray guidance (we numb the area first so it’s not uncomfortable).  This allows that heel anchor point to become much stronger and the pain to go away.  Click on the link about to learn more about this type of procedure.

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January 2, 2009

Torn Tendon in Foot

Torn Tendon in Foot. Tendons are the cords that attach muscles to bone. In the foot, there are many tendons broken down into a couple of categories based on how they move the foot. These are tendons that plantar flex (foot pointed down), dorsiflex (toes and foot moving up), pronate and/or invert (bottom of foot points to other foot), and supinate and/or evert (bottom of foot points to the outside). A tear in a foot tendon is usually due to either an injury or overuse. For example, a tear in the tibialis anterior tendon can be due to too much force on the tendon as it tries to keep the foot from slapping on the ground. This type of tear is also usually caused by weakness in the tibialis anterior muscle (front of the shin) from a chronic low back pinched nerve. This muscle helps us control the foot as we walk. As the muscle gets weaker, the tendon gets beaten up trying to keep the foot from slapping while walking. In addition, the extensor hallicus longus (EHL) can get worn out trying to help the weak tibialis anterior muscle. Fixing a torn tendon in the foot can sometimes involve surgery, but newer non-surgical methods are much more promising. The newer treatments for torn tendons involve injecting the patient’s own stem cells into the tendon so that they can repair the damage. This is a full activity or a minimal downtime procedure, unlike surgery.

August 21, 2008

What is joint preservation?

Joint preservation is both an unknown and new medical science.  It literally means what it sounds like, preserving a joint via a number of tools rather than replacing all or part of that joint.  So instead of a total knee replacement, fixing as many issues as possible to make sure the joint still functions.  Why do this?  Joint replacement is big surgery with big risks, so many of us would like to avoid these risks.  In addition, from a psychological perspective, one knows they are truly “old” when a surgeon cuts out what used to a perfectly good joint and replaces that with metal and plastic.  So this blog is dedicated to my clinical experience and the tools I use to save joints, hence joint preservation.

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