Surgery Doesn't Have To Be The Only Option

Ankle Pain

Non-Surgical Treatment Options For Ankle Pain

Ankle Pain

If you have a medical history that includes chronic ankle sprain and instability and/or one or more arthroscopic procedures, typically you will be looking for options to surgery. These surgeries may include ligament repair, an ankle fusion, or a total ankle replacement.

In our over two decades of helping people with ankle pain and instability, we have seen many patients with a diagnosis of:

  • Chronic ankle pain
  • Ankle instability
  • Ankle and hindfoot disorders
  • Avascular necrosis
  • Post-traumatic ankle injury
  • Ankle ligament damage
  • Achilles and ankle tendon weakness.


Failed Conservative care options:

Many people we see have failed conservative care treatments. For some people, conservative care options can be very successful. For others these treatment’s effectiveness may have worn off if they were effective at all.

  • Painkiller prescriptions
  • Daily anti-inflammatory usage
  • Physical therapy
  • Cortisone injection
  • Botox injection
  • Hyaluronic acid injection
  • Various ankle braces, tapes, sleeves and boots
These treatments continue to be prescribed until eventually an MRI will reveal enough damage to recommend a surgery.

Treatment Options For Ankle Pain

In our practice we have found PRP and bone marrow concentrate to be an effective and reliable treatment in certain patients. While there are many claims made about the effectiveness of these treatments, a custom, realistic approach and expectation of treatment outcomes will generally result in successful outcomes. Many people who seek these treatments have already been advised to consider surgery. For some of these people surgery will be very effective. But, as with any medical treatment, surgery can have its undesired effects. Even successful surgery can require months of physical therapy and diminished function.

Bone Marrow Concentrate

In our practice we have found PRP and bone marrow concentrate to be effective and reliable treatments in certain patients for ankle ailments. Many people who seek these treatments have already been advised to consider surgery.

Bone marrow concentrate or bone marrow aspirate concentrate is the injection into the damaged, injured area of the ankle. The injection contains stem cells that have been drawn from the patient’s own bone marrow. These cells are “de-differentiated pluripotent” cells, which mean that they continue to divide to create more cells that can “morph” into the tissue needing repair—for our purposes, collagen needed for cartilage, ligaments, tendons and bone.

A recent study reviewed the research in the treatment of ankle osteoarthritis with bone marrow derived stem cells. The researchers hypothesized that bone marrow concentrate may be useful in regeneration of tissue, enhancing the quality of cartilage repair. As a result, BMAC promotes a potentially healthy environment for hyaline cartilage growth and repair.

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy

PRP treatments are injection treatments. The treatments are derived from your own healing and growth factors found in your blood. The treatment involves collecting a small amount of your blood and concentrating it in a centrifuge to separate the blood platelets from the red blood cells. The collected platelets are then injected back into the injured area of the back to stimulate healing and regeneration to the soft tissue structures that stabilize the ankle.

We do get many emails about ankle pain. Some people write that they are debating an ankle fusion, sometimes in both ankles because they are bone on bone and have lost all the cartilage in their ankle, can we help? To assess your situation we would need to know:

  • How much range of ankle motion do you have? Can you rotate it or is your ankle locked in place by bone spurs?
  • Do you have a history of traumatic injury?
  • Do you have a history of chronic ankle sprains?
  • How is your walking?

Please feel free to contact us so we can start an assessment of your situation and your candidacy for treatment.

Articles that may help answer your questions:

Relieving Your Ankle Pain

Dr. Marc Darrow, MD, JD., treats pain with non-surgical methods. These treatment methods described above can help many people alleviate pain and restore function. Please contact Dr. Darrow so we can begin our assessment of your candidacy for treatment.