Helping a Soccer Star with a Bad ACL Shine Again

By Chris Centeno, MD /

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Female soccer players get a lot of ACL injuries. Women athletes have a 2-3 times higher rate of injuring the ACL ligament when compared to men. The ACL is the strong ligament in the knee that helps to stabilize front-back motion between the femur and tibia. Regrettably, about 2/3’rds of athletes with an ACL injury who undergo surgical reconstruction of the ACL don’t get back to playing sports by 1 year after the surgery. In addition, women are more prone to knee arthritis after ACL reconstruction surgery. So for many girls who injure their ACL while playing soccer and get it “fixed” with surgery, this is a career ending injury or one that will eventually lead to the early onset of knee arthitis. 17 year old KG injured her ACL as an elite women’s soccer player and her parents (dad is a physical therapist) immediately knew that if she underwent removal of the stretched ligament and surgical replacement, there was a high likelihood that KG’s soccer star wouldn’t shine again. They also had concerns for her future, as a thirty year old with knee arthritis has few options. As a result, they went searching for less invasive ways to treat a stretched ACL ligament. We have pioneered using c-arm fluoroscopy (the same type of imaging used for many cardiac stenting procedures) to inject stem cells into the ACL, replacing the need for more invasive surgery in many patients.

Prior to her ACL Stem Cell Regenexx-SCP procedure where stem cells and platelets were placed into her ACL and patellar tendon, the patient had difficulty climbing stairs and playing tag with friends and hence was not capable of playing soccer at an elite level. Rather than an invasive surgery where her loose ACL ligament was yanked out and surgically replaced, she underwent x-ray and ultrasound guided specific injections of stem cells and platelets into her ACL and patellar tendon. 4 weeks after the procedure, she reported 100% relief of pain. However, what got our attention was the video below. Watch KG perform a standing vertical jump to a counter-top (maybe 3 feet?). It looks like her function has returned in a big way and that KG’s soccer star will finally burn brightly again!

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
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Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
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Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

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Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

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Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

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Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
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  • And more
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Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
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Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

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Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

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Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
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