Another Stem Cell Knee Arthritis Success in an Avid Skier

By Chris Centeno, MD /

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skiing avoid knee replacement

PM is 55 year old family physician from Canada and a very avid Canadian skier. When he was seen by our clinic in April of 2010, he had moderate loss of cartilage under his knee caps from too many years of skiing the bumps. He also had ongoing nerve issues in his low back as well as an arthritis left big toe (MTP joint). PM wanted to continue to ski hard until he was very old, so bilateral anterior knee replacements, a low back surgery, and a fused big toe weren’t going to happen. As a result, he had a Regenexx-C procedure in June of last year on both of his knees and a Regenexx-SD procedure in October on his knees and big toe. He also had a Regenexx-PL Disc procedure on his low back for sciatica. He sent us this e-mail today:

“I am enjoying an excellent result from the stem cell knee injections. I can kneel and stand up without any knee pain. I no longer look for an escalator and can run up stairs. My knee caps no longer feel loose while walking down the street. At 56 yr.’s old I can now ski for 4 hrs. nonstop with a much younger crowd without any knee swelling or pain. I can hit icy mogul lines without discomfort. The knees feel strong and bulletproof. The single stem cell injection to my large toe joint substantially reduced the pain and increased the ROM by 80%. I can now stand on my tippy toes. I have not taken any NSAID’s or pain medications since attending your clinic. My reflexes during skiing are now much sharper. I avoided medications, knee replacements and a fused toe joint. I only missed a day off work during the whole recovery. Thank you Regenexx and the CentenoSchultz Clinic.”

Peter is a good example of a few things we focus on here at the Centeno-Schultz clinic. First, the cells were placed exactly under the knee cap using imaging guidance. I doubt we would have gotten much relief for PM by blindly injecting cells into his knee joint. Second, PM had both a back problem and a knee problem, so treating just the knee wasn’t likely to get the best result either, as one area impacts the other (for more information, see our practice’s book, Orthopedics 2.0 where this is discussed further).

Not wanting to give the impression that these stem cell procedures always work this well, compare PM to a patient I saw last week with similar problems who got a less stellar result (the knee we treated is better, but by only 25-30%). The big difference between this patient and PM is that PM is in great shape and active, while the other patient is very heavy (high body mass index) with significant syndrome X (metabolic Syndrome). I believe the procedure didn’t work as well in the much heavier and less active patient because of the recent research that the hyper-insulin condition associated with syndrome X (high blood pressure, obesity, low activity) negatively impacts cartilage and stem cell health. So if you have metabolic syndrome and are carrying a significant amount of excess body weight, expect to be put in a lower candidacy for the Regenexx joint procedures than someone who has the same joint problem, but is very trim and active. What can you do to improve your candidacy? Consider an aggressive low glycemic diet to reduce the excess insulin production. Not only will you likely get a better result from our procedure, but you’ll also improve your overall health!

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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