What is Regenerative Orthopedics?
If you enjoy an active lifestyle, you don’t want to be sidelined by an injury. Healing joints and connective tissue can take a lot of time and is often painful enough to stop you from training. Traditional orthopedics can offer temporary pain relief, but for some patients this just isn’t enough to get them back to doing what they love.
But for people who want to remain active during rehab and avoid surgery altogether, regenerative orthopedics is often a better option. What is regenerative orthopedics? Unlike traditional methods, regenerative orthopedics aims to heal the underlying problem instead of just mitigating pain. Its techniques work with your body’s natural healing process to repair damage to joints and ligaments and produce long-term results. In this post, we’ll discuss how regenerative orthopedics work, what problems it can solve, and share some success stories.
What is Regenerative Orthopedics and How Does It Work?
Regenerative orthopedics treats joint pain by addressing the underlying tissue damage. This differs from traditional orthopedics, which only addresses the pain until a patient is a candidate for surgery. Those practices might use cortisone or hyaluronic acid injections to mitigate pain, or replace a joint all together once there’s enough damage.
Regenerative orthopedics is focused more on healing than mitigating pain. Through a variety of injection therapies, this style of treatment heals connective tissues for long-term pain relief and results. These therapies include:
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections
- Stem cell injections
What Problems Can It Solve?
Regenerative orthopedics can help with a number of different injuries to joints, ligaments, and muscles. Some common problems it addresses include:
- Ligament laxity
- Partial tears
- Shoulder or hip labrum tears
- Plantar fasciitis
- Knee injuries
Tendinopathies are injuries to tendons surrounding your joints, usually due to overuse. Some common tendinopathies treated with regenerative orthopedics are rotator cuff injuries, tennis elbow, and golfer’s elbow.
Ligament laxity is the hypermobility of some joints, which can come from previous injuries and cause future problems. For example, someone might sprain their ankle and no longer feel stable on it, even after it heals. They might continue spraining it because the ligaments aren’t holding the joint firmly in place. Regenerative orthopedics helps the ligaments regain strength and stability to support your body going forward.
4 Real Examples of Success with Regenerative Orthopedics
Maya is an avid tennis player, but several months ago her pain kept her from the court. She suffered with tennis elbow and ankle trouble from a previous sprain. When she came to our clinic, she said the pain in her elbow was constantly an 8 out of 10 on the pain scale.
We treated her elbow and ankle with prolotherapy. She had three treatments over a three-month period, and after her final treatment, her pain had completely resolved. She now competes in tennis matches at her full capacity without any issues, even during matches.
Justin loves hiking, but earlier this year the osteoarthritis in his knee made it too painful to climb steep inclines. So he came to us hoping for a solution that would get him back on the hills. We did two treatments of prolotherapy on the ligaments surrounding his knee and inside the joint. These injections allowed him to regain his mobility and eliminated his pain. Now he can hike any hill without issue.
Annie is a weight trainer. Five years ago she was training for a bodybuilding competition, but couldn’t reach her full potential because she had a partially torn meniscus. This made it too difficult to do squats and work some of her leg muscles.
We treated her with three rounds of PRP therapy, which helped to heal the meniscus and stop the pain during her workouts. After these treatments, she was able to go back to her training and even placed 5th in a bodybuilding competition. She hasn’t had any pain in her knee since then.
Three years ago, Caroline was a competitive high school swimmer. That is until she injured her AC joint and rotator cuff. She first saw a traditional orthopedic surgeon, who told her she wasn’t a candidate for surgery because the injury wasn’t severe enough. She was unable to lift her arm above her head, which meant she was unable to swim. The injury persisted for several months, keeping her out of the pool.
When she came to us, we treated her with two rounds of PRP therapy in both her AC joint and rotator cuff on the affected shoulder. Within 8 weeks of treatment, Caroline was swimming again and competing with her team. Her pain was completely resolved and still is today as she continues to swim competitively.
Tips When Choosing Regenerative Orthopedics
There are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing a regenerative orthopedics practitioner. These suggestions can help you choose a qualified practitioner and feel confident the treatment will produce the desired results.
- Make sure your provider gives a diagnosis. Some practitioners simply inject into the area where you experience pain. But without a proper diagnosis, the treatment is unlikely to give you significant results. Be sure your practitioner takes the time to diagnose your problem and create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
- Review the literature. Regenerative orthopedics isn’t the right approach for every injury. Do your best to look at studies about the procedures you’re interested in to see if they’ve proven successful in situations similar to yours. Additionally, ask your doctor for some studies they might have about the success of their proposed treatments.
- Use a dynamic provider. Ideally, you want a practitioner who does more than just injections. This is because you need someone who can look at your issue as a whole and recommend the best treatment, even if that’s not regenerative orthopedics. Doctors who offer many different services are more likely to have the right solution for you.
- Choose a doctor who uses ultrasound guidance. When treating joint and ligament injuries, accuracy is key to effective treatment. Ultrasounds are an easy, and non-invasive, way to detect exactly where the damage is so doctors can make injections with precision.
- Listen to your doctor. As you receive treatment, it’s likely your doctor will give you instructions on what types of exercise you can continue or stay away from. Follow their advice so your body has time to heal and the treatments can take their full effect.
Take the First Step to Healing
Regenerative orthopedics goes beyond pain management by getting to the root of the problem and healing damage in the body. If you’re tired of coping with pain or not being able to participate in your favorite activities, consider using regenerative orthopedics to get back in the game. Consider becoming a patient with us. We’d love to help you heal.