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The ankle and foot never get a chance to take a break. With 26 bones, 33 joints (20 are articulated), and more than a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments, the ankle and foot are the work horses of the body. So wherever work happens, repairs will be needed.

In our fast-paced world of constant activity, making the best decision for treatment of a traumatic injury or a degenerative condition isn’t easy. What if surgery wasn’t the only option? At Nashville Regenerative Orthopedics, we envision a future where every patient recovers from their orthopedic procedures with minimal downtime. We treat injuries and degeneration of the ankle and foot non-surgically. Our regenerative stem cell therapy and platelet rich plasma injections preserve the joint and tissues for long-term outcomes with high success rates in healing bone, joint, and soft tissue. Located here in Nashville, we offer the nation’s most advanced regenerative medicine.

The Ankle and Foot Joint

The foot can be subdivided into the hindfoot, the midfoot, and the forefoot. The hindfoot is composed of the talus (or ankle bone) and the calcaneus (or heel bone). The midfoot contains the rest of the tarsal bones, and the forefoot contains the metatarsals and the phalanges.

The two long bones of the lower leg, the tibia (shinbone) and fibula (smaller bone of the lower leg), are connected to the top of the talus (small bone between the calcaneus, tibia and fibula) to form the ankle.

Symptoms and Causes of Ankle and Foot Conditions

Symptoms of ankle and foot osteoarthritis, tendon and ligament tears, and other degenerative problems include tenderness or pain, reduced ability to move the ankle or foot, walk, bear weight, as well as stiffness or swelling in the joint.

An injury or abnormal foot mechanics may also lead to osteoarthritis. Flat feet create less stability in the ligaments and feet with a high arch sometimes lacks mobility. A bony protrusion (a bone spur) can form in patients with osteoarthritis.

  1. Traumatic: Bone fractures, microfractures, breaks, or tendon and ligament tears that occur during a fall, or direct impact to the small bones of the foot or ankle. The largest cause of ankle arthritis is instability. When a sprain happens, the ligaments that protect the ankle are stretched leading to arthritis.
  2. Overuse: The ankle and foot can gradually wear causing microscopic tears to form in the tendons or stress in the bones making a person more susceptible to injuries.

Diagnosis and Detection:

  1. X-rays – the ankle and foot are made of cartilage and isn’t visible on x-ray but this method can help detect or rule out fractures and breaks.
  2. MRI – both hard and solf tissues and their injuries are usually detectable in a MRI.
  3. Elecrtomyography (EMG) – This test may be ordered to rule out nerve compression. Symptoms of nerve compression are similar to those of tennis elbow.

Treatment Solutions with Regenexx Technology

Regenexx procedures are an excellent treatment plan for ankle and foot pain. Recently, studies have shown platelet rich plasma to be highly effective in treating ankle and foot osteoarthritis, tendon and ligament tears or laxity, and other degenerative conditions. Only in a severe injury would surgery be the better choice. Conditions include:

  1. Arthritis
  2. Ankle Instability
  3. Peroneal tendon tear
  4. Ligament tear
  5. Sub-talar arthritis or instability
  6. Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  7. Plantar Fasciitis
  8. Bunions
  9. Achilles Tendonitis

Our non-surgical injection procedures offer a viable alternative for those suffering from foot or ankle pain and who may be facing surgery. Our patients return more quickly to normal activity and avoid the painful and lengthy rehabilitation periods that are required following a foot or ankle surgery and benefit from these advancements in biologics such as PRP and stem cells. Regennex results in repairing bone, joint, and soft tissue are found to be highly effective in ankle and foot conditions.

Ready to Learn More About Regenexx Stem Cell Therapy Alternatives to Foot and Ankle Surgery?

To find out if you might be a candidate for PRP or stem cells, complete our Regenexx Procedure Candidate form online.


Dr. Ethan Kellum is a native of Henderson, Tennessee. He earned his medical degree from University of Tennessee Health and Science Center College of Medicine in Memphis. After a residency in orthopedic surgery at the Medical College of Georgia, he completed a surgical fellowship in sports medicine, shoulder, and advance arthroscopy at New England Baptist Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital. He served as assistant team physician for the NBA’s Boston Celtics, and Harvard and Tufts’ University athletics. His main focus is regenerative medicine and keeping patients out of the operating room.