Helping a Runner’s Knee Arthritis with Stem Cells

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knee stem cell therapyHow does knee stem cell therapy work in a runner?  JC is a 64 year old with a long history of mild intermittent knee pain which was limiting his activities and which caused him to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery in 2007. At the time things seemed to go well after surgery and he was able to return to running. Then in April of this year the knee failed again (perhaps due to the large piece of the meniscus spacer removed during his artroscopic surgery). He had to use crutches to get around and was told that his new MRI showed a high grade tear of his outside (lateral) meniscus, severe cartilage loss in the inside compartment, extrusion of the medial meniscus (the meniscus has been pushed out the joint and was no longer acting as a spacer), and softening of the cartilage under the knee cap (chondromalacia). His exam also showed a loose MCL ligament, which needed to be tightened through exacting ultrasound imaging injection if his treatment was to be successful. The patient was told by his surgeon that his next step was a knee replacement, but that running 45 minutes 6 days a week with a knee replacement would be very unlikely. As a result, he sought out a knee replacement alternative and wanted to try the Regenexx-AD procedure. Almost two months after his first knee stem cell procedure he wrote us this e-mail from Europe:

“Just a quick update on my progress as it has been almost 9 weeks since my last injection.

As you may recall, after a routine run on April 25, my knee crapped out without any particular trauma or twisting.  By the next day, I was unable to take a single step without pain, and indeed hobbled around on crutches for the next 3 weeks while all the doctors told me it was time to have knee replacement surgery.  I opted for Regenexx — the best decision I ever made.

My last injection was June 7.  On July 22, I tried moving up from brisk walking to easy jogging — less than a quarter mile the first day.  I have since gradually increased the distance, and now have no trouble jogging for 45 minutes without stopping.  I take it easy.  I walk on the downhills.  Sometimes I get a “sensation” (not pain) sort of at the top of my shin bone.  For a while, my knee felt a little unstable, but it could have been simply because the muscles in that leg had atrophied from lack of use.  It is feeling pretty good now, and I don’t want to push my luck.

I still use the brace when I jog, mostly because that is what the brace guy recommended. I have steadily dropped weight once I figured out that glycemic load (as opposed to glycemic index or carbs) was the important thing.  I’m sure that has helped.”

Looks like JC is doing well thus far. We look forward to continue to support his goal of returning to running without a knee replacement!

NOTE:  Regenexx-AD is a medical procedure and like all medical procedures have a success and failure rate.  Not all Regenexx-AD patients should expect the same result.

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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