Could stem cell research help with your bunion?

According to researchers from Duke University, there might be a way to make your osteoarthritic foot problems old news.

Joint injuries like hammertoes greatly increase the risk of getting a form of osteoarthritis called post-traumatic arthritis, or PTA. By using a therapeutic approach toward this condition by implementing a type of stem cell called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in mice with fractures, doctors may have found a new way to prevent PTA.

Research that spells relief
This research could give your aching feet a break because osteoarthritis is a contributing factor to the development of bunions. Unfortunately for us ladies, females are more affected by PTA than men, especially if you have flat arches. Here at the Bunion Blog, we already know that bunions are also more common with women, so keep in mind that if you already know you have an osteoarthritic big toe, make sure you are taking steps like using orthotics to keep bunions from developing in your feet.  

What makes the news about this research even more exciting is that researchers thought that a type of mice that had "super-healing properties" (let's all hope they stay in the lab) would fare better with this new method, but they were surprised to find that they were wrong. The regular stem cells worked just as well as the "super-healers," which means that people who typically form stress fractures after an injury will be able to heal just as well from these ailments as anyone else, in theory. According to the study, the delivery of 10,000 normal or super-healer stem cells to the joints prevented PTA by reducing inflammation. We all know that this is closely linked to bunions as well, because inflammation is one of the leading factors with pain.

Skip the surgery
So if you were thinking about a bunionectomy, think again. Not only are bunion surgeries expensive, painful and time-consuming, if this new research indicates that stem cells can prevent osteoarthritic foot joints, you might be able to shake off that hammertoe without going under the knife. The use of Alpha Orthotics coupled with these new therapies could be the answer to preventing hammertoes and bunions from becoming a bigger health risk. Physical therapy to enhance your range of motion could also either prevent a bunion or keep one from coming back.

So cheers to all you Bunion Blog readers out there, because it looks like with the help of science, we are one step closer to even better bunion treatment.