Helping a CrossFit Athlete Avoid Rotator Cuff Surgery

by Chris Centeno, MD /

Receive a Regenexx® Patient Info Packet by email and learn why it's a superior regenerative solution.

rotator cuff tear stem cellsI love helping patients avoid rotator cuff surgery. Why? We don’t have good scientific evidence that sewing your torn rotator cuff back together surgically is effective. Why? It may be more about the number of stem cells or lack thereof rather than how well we stitch your tear. A case in point is Bill, a high-level CrossFit athlete whom we helped avoid rotator cuff surgery with a precise injection of his own stem cells.

Rotator Cuff Tear Surgery?

The rotator cuff is a complex collection of muscles and tendons housed in the shoulder. These muscles support and stabilize the ball-and-socket shoulder joint, allowing you to enjoy a full range of movement when lifting your arm. The rotator cuff can tear, and while this is common in athletes, middle-aged and older people can also tear their rotator cuff. This can happen, for example, while lifting or even catching yourself to prevent a fall. Even more commonly, it can simply happen as we age as part of the normal wear and tear of our bodies. And more often than necessary, surgery seems to be the recommendation, but is rotator cuff tear surgery the way to go?

Why rotator cuff surgery? The theory is that if a patient is in pain and an MRI shows that his or her rotator cuff is torn, sewing it back up will get rid of the pain. On the surface, it seems logical, but the truth is after stitching up a rotator cuff tear, recovery time can be lengthy, many patients never recover their full range of motion, and the pain often continues. Even more concerning is the fact that many studies have shown that the patient’s presurgery shoulder pain may not have anything to do with the rotator cuff tear seen on MRI. Imagine undergoing an invasive surgery to have your rotator cuff stitched up only to discover it isn’t the true source of your pain. If the rotator cuff is injured during exercise or some other traumatic event, it may clearly be the source of the pain; however, surgery still may not be the answer as we have a lot of research showing surgery really may not work any better than no surgery for many types of rotator cuff tears.

Here are a few more reasons you’ll want to think twice before signing on the dotted surgical-consent line for a rotator cuff surgery:

Can a CrossFit Athlete Avoid Rotator Cuff Surgery?

If a new non-surgical technique like ours that uses a precise injection of the patient’s own stem cells could have a durability test, a high level CrossFit athlete would be that test. Why? If you’ve seen the ways these guys work out, you know what I mean. They approach every CrossFit session with incredible passion.

Bill is a high-level CrossFit athlete. Back in August of 2013, he noted anterior shoulder pain and began getting massages, but then he noticed biceps pain all the way down the forearm. His pain increased, and range of motion became a problem, and then all heck broke loose after playing basketball. After that, he was not able to raise his arm above shoulder height without pain, and his CrossFit routines became difficult.

Bill saw Dr. Newton at our Colorado office in July of 2014 and his ultrasound imaging showed a full-thickness rotator cuff tear with some retraction, so in August of 2014, he underwent a same-day stem cell treatment. Dr. Newton precisely placed stem cells into his damaged tendon using ultrasound imaging and using our proprietary protocol.

Bill has been receiving questionnaires through our nonprofit registry and just filled out his two-year questionnaire. He also included the above picture and this note:

“Please let Doc know that the procedure was a wild success. 235# Clean & Jerk, 285# Floor Press, Bar Muscle ups, Overhead Squats.  Strength and mobility of the shoulder is actually even better than prior to the tear. Beyond anything I ever expected.”

The upshot? I always get a kick out of helping patients avoid rotator cuff surgery, especially a guy like Bill who, as you can see above, needs to use that shoulder to lift heavy objects! You go, Bill!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 thoughts on “Helping a CrossFit Athlete Avoid Rotator Cuff Surgery

  1. Raquel Halegua

    LONG STANDING ROTATOR CUFFS TEARS. Had two PRP treatments with no relief. I’m considering stem cell therapy. My physiotherapist can bill MEDICARE for the PRP procedure. How much would be the treatment with stem cells >

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Rachel,
      Did your physiotherapist do the PRP treatments? Success with PRP depends on many factors, three of which are correct diagnosis and matching the appropriate treatment to the problem, the type of PRP and anesthetic used, and the ability of the Provider to get the PRP to the precise area needed through high level guidance. These are the types of injections that a Provider needs to master to treat something like a Rotator Cuff tear: http://www.regenexx.com/explain-interventional-orthopedics/ This explains more about PRP and why it might fail: http://www.regenexx.com/prp-didnt-work/. The cost of treatment depends on what needs to be done. Please submit the candidate form so we can take a look and let you know how we can help.

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.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

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.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical 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
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

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.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
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
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

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.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

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

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
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.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
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.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.