Achilles tendon is the connective tissue that joins the muscles at the back of the leg to the heels. Swelling and pain in the Achilles tendon is known as Achilles tendinitis.Stem Cells for Achilles Tendonitis
In younger individuals, Achilles tendinitis is mostly caused by the overuse of the foot, such as while running, jumping and other physical activities. Running on hard surfaces, running without warming up, running with improper shoes—may all contribute to Achilles tendinitis. Rarely, this condition is caused by injury to the area. In older people, Achilles tendinitis may be a result of arthritis.
Achilles tendinitis pain can be alleviated by taking over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. If the pain does not reside, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain medications.
Physical therapy exercises can help by stretching and strengthening the Achilles tendon and associated structures.
Orthotic devices, such as a shoe insert, can relieve strain on the tendon by elevating the heels.
Achilles tendinitis that does not heal with self-care measures and the treatment options listed above, will require surgery. It is estimated that approximately 46,000 individuals require Achilles tendon repair surgery in the US annually. Surgery and follow-up treatment costs add up to approximately $40,000 per case.
The recovery process after surgery is lengthy, requiring up to a year, and even then 20% cases report the need for additional surgery. Following surgery, patients cannot resume normal leg activity, and this in turn increases the risk of atrophy. Adhesions may also form at the surgery site due to inactivity, and may decrease functional recovery.
Given this scenario, stem cell therapy can greatly benefit patients with Achilles tendinitis by speeding up the recovery process and facilitating complete healing following surgery. When surgery is indicated for Achilles tendinitis, patients can undergo stem cell therapy to promote faster and greater healing.
Stem cells hold the potential to differentiate into specialized cells, such as bone, cartilage, tendon, nerve, blood, brain, or muscle. Although adult stem cells do not differentiate into as many different types of tissues as embryonic stem cells, adult stem cell usage is less controversial from ethical perspectives.
Adult stem cells can be retrieved from many parts of the body, such as bone marrow, fat and skin. Mesenchymal stem cell or (MSC), found in adult bone marrow and fat, can differentiate into connective tissues.
Several studies have evaluated the reparative and regenerative potential of stem cells in Achilles tendon tear and repair.     For example, mesenchymal stem cell injection at the site of chronic injury could lead to the generation of healthy cells and new collagen in that area. A recent study at the MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, found that surgery with stem cells resulted in better recovery as compared with traditional surgery for tendon injury in rats.
The R3 Stem Cell Clinics provides guidance regarding innovative stem cell therapy for Achilles tendinitis. By harnessing the body’s own stem cells, patients can experience a safe and complete recovery of symptoms.
Amniotic derived stem cell injections may also be used to successfully treat patients with Achilles tendinitis. These stem cells are derived from the amniotic sac (not an embryo), and hence raises no moral concerns. Moreover, amniotic fluid is a rich supply of stem cells, and therefore is preferred over adult stem cells in some cases.
Unlike pain medications that temporarily relieve pain, stem cells can heal the defective tissue from the inside. The advantages of using stem cell for healing conditions, such as Achilles tendonitis include:
 Chen J, Yu Q, Wu B, et al. Autologous tenocyte therapy for experimental Achilles tendinopathy in a rabbit model. Tissue Eng Part A. 2011;17(15-16):2037-2048.
 Chong AK, Ang AD, Goh JC, et al. Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells influence early tendon-healing in a rabbit Achilles tendon model. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2007;89(1):74-81.
 de Vos RJ, Weir A, van Schie HT, et al. Platelet-rich plasma injection for chronic Achilles tendinopathy: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2010;303(2):144-149.
 Pearson J, Rowlands D, Highet R. Autologous blood injection to treat Achilles tendinopathy? A randomized controlled trial. J Sport Rehabil. 2012;21(3):218-224.
 Young R G, Butler D L, Weber W, Caplan A I, Gordon S L, Fink D J. Use of mesenchymal stem cells in a collagen matrix for Achilles tendon repair. J Orthop Res 16(4):406-13, 1998.
 S. B. Adams, M. A. Thorpe, B. G. Parks, G. Aghazarian, E. Allen, L. C. Schon.Stem Cell-Bearing Suture Improves Achilles Tendon Healing in a Rat Model. Foot & Ankle International, 2014; 35 (3): 293 DOI:10.1177/1071100713519078
The most revolutionary regenerative medicine treatments now being offered include amniotic and umbilical stem cell treatments. These are FDA regulated and contain growth factors, hyaluronic acid, cytokines and stem cells.