If you have severe heel pain—pain that just won’t go away no matter what you do—where can you turn?
If you’ve done some homework online, or even visited a doctor once or twice, you probably heard about how most cases of heel pain can be resolved easily with conservative treatments.
Rest. Ice. Stretching. Wearing a new pair of shoes. Maybe a shot of cortisone at the doctor’s office to help with symptoms in the short term.
And sure, that does work … for most people.
But what if it doesn’t work for you?
Resistance to traditional, conservative treatments is relatively uncommon, but it does happen—often when pain is the most severe. And In the past, you might have been left with two less-than-ideal choices as your only options for recourse.
- Do nothing and simply live with your pain
- Foot surgery
Fortunately, you probably won’t have to make that choice anymore, because we have a new option to help you: AmnioFix.
What Is AmnioFix?
In order to explain this, we need to back up and talk a little bit about where babies come from.
(Just kidding. Sort of.)
While developing inside a mother, the fetus is surround by the amniotic sac, which is itself composed of an inner membrane (amnion) and outer membrane (chorion). These membranes both protect and help nourish the growing baby.
After a healthy birth, the amniotic sac and umbilical cord are also pushed out of the mother’s body, and at that point are normally just discarded.
However, mothers may instead choose to voluntarily donate this tissue for medical use if their baby is delivered by a scheduled Caesarian section. This does not hurt the mother or the baby, or affect the healthy delivery process in any way.
It’s this tissue which is processed to make the AmnioFix injectable.
How Can AmnioFix Help My Heel Pain?
The amnion and chorion are absolutely packed with what you might call “specialty proteins,” including more than 200 different growth factors, extracellular matrix proteins, and cytokines.
If you don’t know precisely what these are, that’s okay. The main thing you need to understand about these proteins is that they are among the most critical agents that your body uses to heal, repair, and regenerate damaged tissue.
The growth factors and other regenerative proteins in AmnioFix help kick start the healing process, “signal” other nearby cells to assist in the repair, and reduce inflammation.
If you’re suffering from heel pain that has become severe and chronic, and gotten to the point where your body on its own just isn’t able to suppress the inflammatory response, AmnioFix is highly effective at finally giving your body’s cells exactly what they need to finally eliminate the pain and repair the torn tissue.
Is It Safe?
Yes, AmnioFix is very safe.
You can think of it as conceptually similar to giving blood. All donors are screened, and the amniotic material is rigorously tested to ensure that it’s healthy and safe.
The tissue is then thoroughly cleansed, dehydrated, and sterilized. This virtually eliminates any risk of any kind of rejection or disease transmission, and also allows the material to be preserved and used safely and effectively for several years after donation (if necessary).
And again, it’s just as safe for mother and baby as it is safe for you. It’s voluntarily donated by mothers after scheduled C-sections and has no effect on the delivery. There should be no ethical concerns whatsoever.
After the injection, you might experience some tenderness or soreness near the injection site for a few days. We’ll also have some rehab exercises for you to follow, as and after the tissue has healed, to rebuild strength and resilience in the repaired tissues. Virtually all patients tolerate treatment extremely well, with minor side effects lasting 3-4 days at most.
When Should I Consider AmnioFix?
AmnioFix is an ideal option for patients who haven’t had success with other conservative treatments for heel pain, especially if they’ve reached their limit in terms of how many cortisone injections we can safely provide.
As we said in the introduction, the normal procedure for treating heel pain is a combination of more traditional conservative therapies and remedies, including rest, ice, stretching, strapping, new shoes, etc.—alongside a cortisone injection to help manage short-term pain if it’s severe. This works for most people with mild to moderate heel pain.
If that doesn’t work, we would typically first suggest extracorporeal shockwave therapy, another advanced treatment that uses sonic waves to stimulate cellular healing processes, and does not require any needles or injections.
AmnioFix would be the next step for those who are not good candidates for shockwave therapy, or did not achieve success with shockwave. It’s the last line of defense we have before looking toward surgical options. Fortunately, AmnioFix is a highly successful procedure even in the toughest cases of heel pain, and a significant percentage of people who undergo the procedure find relief through it.
So Where Can I Turn?
You can always turn to Dr. Sanjay Patel and the foot and ankle experts at Family Foot Care & Surgery.
Even though we have “surgery” right there in our name, we’ll always do everything we can to heal your heel pain as quickly and conservatively as possible. That’s why we prioritize offering our patients advanced conservative and regenerative therapies such as AmnioFix.
If your heel pain is keeping you from living the way you want to—even if you think you’ve already tried everything there is to try—give us a call. You can schedule with us in Milford or Hamden, CT by dialing (203) 876-7736.