Stem Cell Therapy for Sport Injuries
What Types of Sports Injuries Are Treated with Stem Cells?
Doctors use stem cells to treat a wide variety of sports injuries, including damage to:
These injuries may be due to a one-time trauma or chronic overuse. Stem cells are injected directly into the affected area.
What does the term Orthobiologics mean?
Most commonly associated with sports injuries, orthobiologics are biological substances, such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cells, used to speed the healing process for musculoskeletal injuries. They may be used alone or in combination with conventional pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical based treatment. More specifically, orthobiologic therapies introduce high concentrations of naturally occurring cellular concentrates to an injury with the intention of expediting the healing of muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones; thereby shortening recovery time and decreasing injury-related inflammation and pain.
In sports medicine, orthobiologic treatments are used to treat both acute and chronic conditions, including common conditions caused by overuse. Athletes and orthopedists often turn to orthobiologic therapies in the hope of returning an athlete to pre-injury physical condition as soon as possible. For the most part, orthopedists will use biologics in place of pharmaceuticals and/or invasive surgery.
How do stem cell therapies work to accelerate healing? Over the years, clinicians have placed a lot of hope in the healing capabilities of stem cells due to their unique potential to become different types of tissues as needed, such as cartilage or bone. The presence of the stem cells at the site of injury could assist in healing because the stem cells are able to “turn into” the tissue that is injured and needs to be healed. Stem cell treatments involve harvesting stem cells from the patient,
Where do the stem cells come from? For stem cell therapies that involve injecting the patient’s own stem cells, doctors can obtain these from the patient’s skin, bone, fat, or other tissues depending on the treatment plan. The area used in terms of stem cell potency is in the adipose (fat) layer. After many successful treatments, our data analysis can confirm the best concentration of stem cells to be in this area.
Stem cell therapy for athletes, once considered to be a taboo practice, has become widely accepted among professional sports organisations. According to an article by Sports Illustrated, more than 100 NFL players have tried stem cell therapy in the past few years. Yet football players are not the only professional athletes that have embraced this cutting edge technology. From baseball to tennis players, stem cell therapy have been used to reduce athlete’s recovery time and to aid in rebuilding damaged or lost body tissues. Most professional athletes don’t publicise their use of stem cell therapy, but some of the top athletes that we do know that have used stem cell therapy to keep them in the game they love are; Tiger Woods, Rafael Nadal, Cristiano Ronaldo and A.J Foyt.
Any athlete considering stem cell treatments should get a detailed description of the treatment plan, including the source of the stem cells.