Iffy stem cell shot in big toe, not ‘shot-in-the-arm’ NFL star was hoping

stem cell shot big toe

stem cell shot big toeGetting a stem cell shot or injection is completely 100% safe, right?

An NFL star recently found out just how wrong that stem cell clinic mantra turned out to be.

Jordan Reed, tight end for the Washington Redskins, has had issues with his big toe. He apparently thought that a stem cell injection there would be the ticket to a speedier recovery to get back on the field, but according to ESPN and Richmond Times Dispatch, this “shot in the arm” via the shot in his big toe has caused more problems.

“But after he got a stem cell shot following minicamp, his toe became inflamed. He started compensating in workouts and hurt his ankle. Rest became the prescription. Reed is also awaiting new cleats with orthotics to protect the toe.”

Apparently this isn’t Reed’s first try with stem cells as according to the WaPo, he got a stem cell injection in 2015 too for a leg problem. I’m not clear on whether the shot was to the knee or the quadriceps or both.

What exactly was in these “stem cell shots”?

I can’t find any information on what was in that latest shot or who administered it, but the shot seemed to make things worse, not better.

His toe, injured last season, was getting better on its own…

“However, after the summer sessions, he got a stem-cell treatment on the toe. “That kind of flared it up a bit on me,” he said. “Now I’m just letting it calm down before I get out there.”

About 5-6 years ago a few sports stars around the world starting making headlines with their stem cell treatments. Football, baseball, soccer, tennis…the numbers are growing.

Does it work? Is it placebo? Is it safe?

In the NFL alone it appears that 100s of players even as early as 2014 were getting their own “stem cell shot” of various kinds administered in various places.

There are risk to these things well beyond a pain in the toe and unfortunately it seems likely that pro athletes like Peyton Manning or celebrities like Rick Perry getting unproven stem cell treatments encourages the public to do so too.

Circling back to the recent NFL story, fortunately, it sounds like Reed will be fine, but some people have much worse reactions to unproven stem cells than a sore toe including blindness and tumors. Be careful out there!

1 Comment


  1. I thought “soreness” is normally what you get right after PRP or stem cell injections (more or less a prolotherapy?) because they restart the inflammation process, somewhat similar to getting re-injured. but make these injured areas heal faster and more properly with all these cytokines and stuff secreted by injected stem cells. Because of that, potentially one of the unwanted side effects is overgrowth of scar tissues. As a patient who regularly does some google search, so far that’s what I know about these services.

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