Retired Teacher Tells His Heel Pain to “Take A Hike”

Active throughout his life, Gary Wojton found a new passion as soon as he moved to Arizona: Hiking.

Retiring from the Chicago Public School System and relocating to Scottsdale in 2008, Wojton started hiking as a hobby. The hobby went from a slow start to a passion as Wojton averaged 4-8 miles a day. He traveled the McDowell Mountain Trails in Scottsdale, ventured off to Sedona and even hiked the Grand Canyon (from top to bottom and back to the top again).

“I never had pain to speak of until late December 2015,” Wojton, 65, said. “I was hiking on the Pinnacle Peak Trail and about 3 miles in, I felt sharp pains in the heel and ball of my right foot.”

Thinking jagged rocks on the trail caused the pain, Wojton wasn’t too concerned. Until he tried to hike the next day and the pain came shooting back. Wojton knew proper treatment would be to give his foot a rest, ice it, and wait a few days. It didn’t work and just walking was becoming extremely difficult, it was time to see a specialist.

In a May visit to Southwest Spine & Sports, Dr. Wolff diagnosed Wojton with plantar fasciitis and reviewed treatment options. Wojton learned about the benefits of Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy. “Dr. Wolff was aware of my low tolerance for injections, especially painful ones,” Wojton said. Wojton didn’t feel any pain from the injection.

Wojton arrived for the June appointment a little uneasy, thinking about injections and heel pain.

SWSS staff drew Wojton’s blood, prepared it to PRP, gave him a tibial nerve block injection, and using ultrasound guidance, Dr. Wolff administered a tibial nerve block, waited 15 minutes and then administered PRP to his heel. As Dr. Wolff explained, Wojton didn’t feel any pain from the injections.

“Following Dr. Wolff’s advice, I tried to stay off my foot for 48 hours,” Wojton said. “Then, I did just minimal walking to get the mail or go grocery shopping.” About 4-5 weeks later, Wojton’s pain had improved from the “9” level before PRP therapy to about a 3 or 4. There was still some mild pain, but he could walk and do everyday activities – except hiking.

“Dr. Wolff knew about my love for hiking,” Wojton explained, “so he spoke with me about having one more PRP treatment.” Once again, Wojton said he felt no pain during the treatment. After 7 weeks, Wojton went on a 4-mile hike.

Wojton now feels “reborn” with a renewed appreciation for his good health and his ability to hike again. “I put Dr. Wolff as one of my Guardian Angels,” he said. “He saved me, my psychological disposition, and has helped me get back to what I love to do!”

What are PRP and stem cell therapy?

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is one of the most exciting emerging forms of regenerative medicine for soft tissue injuries. Safe, effective, and all natural, PRP heals damaged joints and soft tissue injuries and relieves pain. PRP therapy uses a small sample of the patient’s own blood, spun in a specialized centrifuge to concentrate platelets, then injected into the injured area. An alternative to surgery and cortisone injections, PRP injections are getting great results for patients of all ages.

Multinucleated Stem Cells (MSC), stem cells for short, are potent and valuable healers. They have the unique ability to stimulate naturally and “morph” into healthy, mature cells to replace injured cells. When handled and injected correctly, stem cells help set up a healing environment and stimulate a regenerative process to create healthy tissue. In the process, cells differentiate, proliferate, and mature in the environment they’re placed. Simply put, this means stem cells are able to transform and develop into different types of healthy mature cells including bone cartilage, muscle, tendon, and ligament. Click here to learn more about stem cells.

SWSS physicians have been using regenerative therapy for nearly a decade – keeping up with modern advances, participating in research, and helping patients live pain-free, from elite athletes to weekend warriors. In further supporting advancement in the field, SWSS donates a portion of revenue from every regenerative medicine procedure to the SWSS Foundation for Innovation, Research & Education (SWSS FIRE).

Stem cell therapy has been in use since the early 1990s. Recent advances in technology have improved the ease and safety of the therapy. Autologous stem cell therapy – meaning use of cells from your own body – is quickly gaining popularity as a means to treat painful injuries. Autologous stem cell treatment is a simple outpatient procedure at Southwest Spine & Sports. The all-natural therapy helps a wide range of patients, from those with acute muscle and/or ligament injuries, like professional athletes, to those with joint pain from arthritis, and low back pain from injured discs and degenerative disc disease. Stem cells used for treatment can be easily harvested from a patient’s bone marrow taken from the back of the hip. Cells are immediately prepared for reinjection using a specialized centrifuge system to isolate and concentrate desired stem cells under sterile conditions. Patients’ own fresh stem cells are then injected into the injured area, guided by either ultrasound or fluoroscopy. At Southwest Spine & Sports the entire procedure is performed in a comfortable, state-of-the-art facility. There is an option for mild conscious sedation when necessary and takes only a few hours.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, click here or call us today at (480) 860-8998.