Diabetic foot ulcers are some of the most complicated and saddest things we see at our Phoenix-area office. Despite your best foot care practices, these wounds can take months to heal with traditional wound care, and during this time you may not be able to walk on the foot normally and enjoy your favorite activities or even end up in the hospital. That’s why we are excited about amniotic therapy and the possibilities of quicker healing for your foot issues.
A Short History
The use of placental tissue, especially the amniotic membrane, for medical treatment is not a new thing. Chinese medicine in the 1500s explored its use in the 1500s, but it wasn’t until the early 1900s that some doctors began using sections of the membrane to cover skin wounds. After the 1930s, its use expanded into many other areas (treating eye diseases, ulcers, and burns, and use in abdominal and vaginal surgeries), and researchers began to recognize that the grafts had healing properties as well.
The problem was availability of the tissue, because even when sterilized and stored at 4 degrees centigrade, it could only be kept for about 6 weeks.
Modern research has identified processes that purify, sterilize, and dehydrate amniotic membrane tissue so that it can have a shelf life of about 5 years. This can be done in a way that retains the collagen matrix (the basic structure on which tissue can build) as well as the growth factors and other proteins that promote healing. The result is that many new uses are being found, including in the world of podiatry.
How Amniotic Therapy Is Used
When this composite membrane (known as an allograft) is applied to an open diabetic wound, it provides protection for the exposed tissue and a barrier against bacteria, but also a matrix on which your body’s cells can began to build new tissue. In addition, the growth factors help stimulate cell activity to enhance your body’s natural healing process, and the allograft has properties that help control inflammation and pain as well.
Now, we can offer hope for chronic cases that we couldn’t heal with traditional wound treatment, which we might have thought would never heal. Seeing your wound close, new skin form, and you returning to your normal activities is the most gratifying experience we can have as podiatrists.
This measure of hope is not limited to those with diabetic ulcers. Amniotic therapy can also be used for quicker healing of severe burns, skin wounds from an accident, or incisions after surgery. A micronized form of the treatment can even be injected into soft tissues to aid in healing conditions that cause debilitating foot pain, such as plantar fasciitis. Although clinical studies on the effectiveness have not yet been completed, there may also be promise in treating tendon disorders or injuries and osteoarthritis.
It is predicted that amniotic treatment breakthroughs will play an important role in the future of podiatry.
What This Means for You
With Amniotic therapy available as an option, you can have renewed hope that you can heal from your serious foot problems. By modulating inflammation and pain, enhancing your natural healing process, and reducing scar tissue formation, it can help your skin wounds and soft tissue injuries heal faster and better.
When your feet become healthy again, it can change your life. You can be active and participate in normal activities that your foot issues had made impossible.
Ready to take a step toward a more enjoyable life? Call Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona in the Metro Phoenix area at (480) 963-9000 to schedule your appointment, and see what we can do for you.