Helping a Runner Run with Stem Cells

By Chris Centeno, MD /

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knee stem cells

Helping a runner with knee stem cells…  JC is an active 66 year old runner who was seen by us at the end of May with a four year history of knee pain. He had an arthroscopic debridement in 2007 with a partial menisectomy (part of the meniscus removed) which helped for awhile, but the knee started to worsen in early this year. The patient had tried Hyaluronic acid injections and physical therapy. His knee exam demonstrated a displaced meniscus and significant cartilage loss, so he was told he was a reasonable candidate for the Regenexx-AD procedure. The goal of this procedure is to not only add stem cells to the areas where cartilage is wearing down, but also to buttress the meniscus to prevent further displacement of this important shock absorber out of the joint. Here is his description of results:

I’m happy to provide an update.  I remain extremely pleased with my outcome from the Regenexx procedure and your skill with the needle.  I guess if I had to put a percentage on my improvement, I would put it at 90%.  Although I was able to walk by the time I arrived in Broomfield, I went 3 weeks without being able to walk at all.  I was certain my running days were over.  All of the doctors I consulted gave me the same grim prognosis, and I was ready to sign up for knee replacement surgery just to get it behind me.  I was  vaguely aware of the promise of stem cell therapy, and found Regenexx through my own internet research.  I figured my knee was too far gone to benefit, but decided to follow through with my previously-scheduled telephone consultation with Dr. Schultz.  He was not at all reassuring in his prognosis.  But I figured I had nothing to loose but money, and if the new procedure didn’t work, I could always get the knee replacement.  So I flew to Colorado from my current home in Albania.

I am again running regularly and normally.  In fact, I’m signed up for a race  tomorrow.  I have also taken up hiking again.  Albania has rugged mountains and I have had no problems hiking all day with a day pack.

The knee is not 100%, and sometimes it feels slightly unstable.  I sense that pivoting on it would  not be good.  I still wear the Breg brace when running or hiking on uneven ground.  I am not sure  it is necessary, but it seems like a prudent practice, reducing the chance of twisting something.

In some ways, the knee is better than it has been in years.  I notice that it no longer pops and cracks when I stand up.  It used to be that keeping  it still for a long time, for example when driving, it would be very stiff when I got out of the car.  That is no longer the case.  I’m not sure why, but I interpret it as  a sign of better joint health.

We wish JC many more miles!

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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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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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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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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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 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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