Regenerative Medicine For Knee Injuries

Knee injuries and related pain symptoms are amongst the most common life-impacting ailments experienced by adults in the United States. What’s worse is the fact that conventional treatments for knee injuries and pain tend to address only the symptoms, providing temporary relief but failing to fix the root of the problem. Because of this, the majority of knee injuries progressively worsen until surgical intervention is required. 

To make matters worse, most instances of knee surgery are actually unnecessary and can worsen chronic pain and reduced mobility. Repeated damage from surgeries gradually wears out the joint until total joint replacement is the only option left. Fortunately, regenerative medicine is a treatment option that not only alleviates pain but restores function (1). 

Conventional Treatments for Knee Injuries

NSAIDS: Also known as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, NSAIDS can be found over the counter under many brand names. While these provide temporary pain relief, they also create a false “mild” perception of the injury. This often leads to people using the injured structures as if they were already healed which will aggravate the problem.

Steroid (cortisone) Shots: These are stronger anti-inflammatory agents than over-the-counter NSAIDS. While their anti-inflammatory effects temporarily alleviate pain, damage to joint structures has been reported with its use. There is an increased risk of cartilage damage, bone death, and even infection (2).

RICE: Also known as “Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation,” this RICE treatment the go-to immediate at-home treatment following an injury. While cold and compression may improve initial symptoms, these also impede blood flow to the injury. Given that the majority of joints lack an ample blood supply in the first place, the RICE protocol may actually do more harm than good. 

 

Why is Regenerative Medicine Better?

The majority of treatments for knee injuries focus on alleviating pain symptoms rather than fixing the injury. They often rely on anti-inflammatory agents that provide temporary pain relief but also interfere with healing. Why is that?

Inflammation is much more than a source of pain, it is a healing mechanism. During inflammation, a large number of immune cells and healing components are recruited to the site of injury. Immune cells and healing components then work hard to remove damaged tissue and initiate repair. Interfering with inflammation, therefore, interferes with proper healing. This is especially true for joint structures, whose naturally limited blood supply compromises their healing in the first place.

Unlike conventional treatments, regenerative medicine is pro-inflammatory and stimulates healing. Its ability to target specific joint structures makes it a versatile therapeutic that repairs damaged areas- alleviating pain and restoring function. Even better, prolotherapy actually lessens one’s risk for surgical intervention and/or eventual joint replacement. 

References-

  1. Hauser, Ross A, et al. “Prolotherapy as an Alternative to Surgery: A Prospective Pilot Study of 34 Patients from a Private Medical Practice.”Journal of Prolotherapy, 19 Sept. 2017,journalofprolotherapy.com/prolotherapy-as-an-alternative-to-surgery-a-prospective-pilot-study-of-34-patients-from-a-private-medical-practice/. 
  2. “Cortisone Shots.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 10 Sept. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cortisone-shots/about/pac-20384794.

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