According to the Arthritis Foundation, an estimated 54 million adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, with the most common form being osteoarthritis, which affects an estimated 31 million Americans.
Many arthritis sufferers are genetically predisposed to getting the disease. But for those without a family history of arthritis, several factors can increase their risk of developing the condition, including age and obesity. However, one often overlooked contributing factor to arthritis is the impact of injury to the joints. Many orthopedists refer to this as post-traumatic arthritis due to an arthritis causing event (ACE).
Nearly 5.5 million Americans develop arthritis as a result of an injury to a joint. It is easy to see why many former football players have arthritic knees, given the frequency and severity of knee injuries sustained during their careers. But anyone—from the high school soccer player to the warehouse worker who engages in repetitive lifting—can injure their joints and increase their risk of developing arthritis later in life. This is especially concerning since the number of young athletes requiring ligament repair surgery continues to grow. Studies show that those who have surgery to treat a joint injury are at greater risk for developing arthritis by the age of 30.
Joint Anatomy 101: An Interconnected System
Arthritis develops when the cushioning cartilage between the bones in our joints wears down. Chronic pain, stiffness and swelling are the most common symptoms. But our joints are more than bones and cartilage. They also include muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves.
An arthritis-causing event (ACE) can include an injury to the cartilage, to the cushioning structures (such as the meniscus or the labrum) or to the ligaments (ACL or MCL). Ligament injuries cause the joint to be unstable and can lead to cartilage loss and bone spurs. But damage to the ligaments and the risk for developing arthritis later can be easily fixed—if identified correctly and early.
If you have a joint that “cracks” and “pops” don’t ignore it—even if you’ve been told your ligament is not torn or in need of surgical repair. At Stem Cell Arts we will perform a stress ultrasound, where we manipulate and stress the joint while looking at the ligaments to see how loose they are.
If the stress ultrasound reveals ligament laxity, we can provide you with a targeted injection of platelet rich plasma (PRP) that will usually help the ligament heal and tighten to provide better stability to the joint. Our Stem Cell ARTS physicians and staff have been specially trained to perform the Regenexx® family of PRP and stem cell procedures. Using state-of-the-art equipment, we can create the highest quality customized platelet concentrates to aid in healing.
If you, or someone you know, has suffered a joint injury but has reoccurring symptoms such as cracking or popping, please contact us. We can assess the extent of any lingering injuries to the joints and using our advanced platelet rich plasma therapies, help prevent further degeneration.
StemCell ARTS is part of a research consortium that includes clinics from around the globe. At the center, the Regenexx research lab. This location is the site of the research that provides the cutting edge procedures offered at the Regenexx affiliate locations. StemCell ARTS is proud to introduce another procedure being offered to help treat patients with musculoskeletal injuries or degenerative conditions.
Alpha-2-macroglobulin, referred to as A2M, is now available as a treatment option in both our Tysons Corner, VA and Chevy Chase, MD offices. A2M has been shown to provide benefit in those suffering from arthritic joints. Studies have indicated that A2M can reduce cartilage breakdown and inhibits a collagen breakdown protein involved in the progression of arthritis. This new and exciting treatment can be used in patients suffering from swelling of the joints and active patients looking to keep their joints healthy.
Could A2M help you? Read more about A2M from Regenexx’s own Dr. Centeno.
At StemCell ARTS, we love to hear patients provide their experience following regenerative procedures with our practice. It is extremely rewarding to hear tales of patients returning to the activities they love. Mark, a patient under the care of Dr. Rodney Dade in the Tysons Corner, VA office, was an avid runner who had been sidelined with knee pain. Mark provides his experience after undergoing the stem cell series of injections to treat his knee condition, bilaterally.
“This has given me a second chance that I didn’t think I’d ever have. I believe I’ve found the ‘Fountain of Youth.’ I’m extremely glad I decided to do it. I would do it again in a heartbeat. There are other options besides surgery.”
Our StemCell ARTS team recently received amazing recognition from Judy, a patient under the care of Dr. Benjamin Newton in the Chevy Chase, MD office. Judy provides her experience after undergoing Platelet Rich Plasma and Platelet Lysate injections to treat her cervical spine.
I was seen in August for my 2nd PRP treatment. I am thrilled to say that I can really see and feel the difference since my last treatment. Initially it was crazy sore and quite miserable but after about 6 weeks I started to really improve. I was able to travel lugging my own suitcase and back pack throughout London, Paris and Scotland on /off trains /metros / etc. I was so surprised at how well my neck and back did throughout the whole time.
No muscle relaxers or Advil needed the entire trip . I wanted to send a big thank you to Dr. Newton as I have been struggling with pain for over 11 years since my accident.
Our StemCell ARTS team recently received amazing recognition from Lee, a patient under the care of Dr. Robert H. Wagner in the Tysons Corner, VA office. Lee explains her experience after undergoing Platelet Rich Plasma injections to treat her spine.
“I have been receiving PRP treatments from Dr. Wagner for managing spondylolisthesis over the years, and they have worked very well for me. Thanks to Dr. Wagner, I have been able to lead a normal life and do the activities I love like horseback riding.”
Our StemCell ARTS team recently received amazing recognition from Maria, a patient under the care of Dr. Robert H. Wagner in the Tysons Corner, VA office. Maria explains her experience after undergoing the Stem Cell series of injections to treat knee arthritis.
“I have started taking walks and even joined a line dancing group thanks to your work. Every now and then I have pain to the point where I slow down and have to take it easy, at least for a day. With both the right and left knees affected by osteoarthritis I can’t really complain about the mobility that I have at this point on both knees. I am thankful that I had the injection done in the right knee and the stem cell on the left, both treatments have helped me up to this point.”
Adhesive capsulitis, also known as ‘frozen shoulder’ is a common condition that affects about 3% of the population. It affects the joint capsule and ‘freezes’ it so range of motion is greatly diminished. Often, frozen shoulders clear up within a year, for those with permanently restricted ROM, there are few treatments out there for them, especially if they suffer from arthritis as well.
Solutions Offered at StemCell ARTS
Those who wish to receive stem cell treatments and are diagnosed with adhesive capsulitis, do not make the best candidates. However, our physicians here at StemCell ARTS use a technique called “joint expansion injections” in an attempt to expand the joint in order for stem cells to proliferate in the joint. Expansion injections are typically performed in a set of three, one injection for three weeks. Patients come into the office where our physician injects the affected joint with 30cc or more of a saline and anesthetic solution under fluoroscopic guidance. The idea of these injections is to break the cycle of inflammation and contraction of the joint. No more than 2 hours afterwards, patients attend a physical therapy session where the therapist works on stretching and expanding the joint. This would typically be fairly uncomfortable, but the anesthetic from the injection helps counter the pain. After the series is complete, patients are often considered better candidates for the stem cell series because most, if not all, of their range of motion has returned.
Check out our website to see if we can help with your shoulders!
Golfer and Tennis Elbow
Spring time is in full force and, here at StemCell ARTS, we often see patients who have worn their bodies out participating in their favorite outdoor activities. Golfer and tennis players are common athletes that our physicians come across. Golfer’s elbow is inflammation that causes pain and discomfort where the tendons of the forearm connect to the inside of the elbow. Tennis elbow is similar to Golfer’s elbow, but differs in that the pain occurs on the outside of the elbow. These injuries are abundant among both professional and non-professional athletes. These injuries can also be seen in patients who do not engage in either golf or tennis.
Treatments Provided at StemCell ARTS
Usually, the treatments for these conditions are easily resolved with an injection of cortisone that helps resolve the inflammation. However, for those with chronic Golfer and Tennis elbow, we are able to provide long-lasting and non-invasive treatments options for you! Prolotherapy and Platelet Rich Plasma provide more permanent relief because we are utilizing your body’s own healing capabilities instead of masking your symptoms. Schedule an appointment with us today and let us get you back to those hole-in-ones!
Watch Dr. Friedlis’ video on how we would treat Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow here at StemCell ARTS!