Joint and knee pain are quite common among adults, and over 20% of adults over 45 years of age have arthritis. Failing to treat the problem results in more wear and tear of the muscles and worsens inflammation leading to pain, swelling, redness, stiffness, weakness, and eventually loss of function. The pain can hinder our mobility affecting the quality of life.
Reasons for knee and ankle pain:
- Ligament injury resulting in fracture/ sprain
- Overuse of muscles
Sometimes, over-the-counter pain killers provide relief, but prolonged use of painkillers isn’t recommended due to its associated side effects. People can manage it to a small extent by making lifestyle changes, exercise, changes in diet, weight loss, heat/ cold therapy, natural remedies, etc.
The conservative forms of treatment prescribed for arthritis and knee pain are steroid injections, invasive surgical procedures like partial or whole knee replacement (in severe cases), or orthopedic treatments like acupuncture, chiropractic medicine, physical therapy which can be costly, have long recovery time along with a questionable success rate.
Alternative to conservative treatment – Stem cells:
The newly emerging, non-invasive treatment for knee and joint pain is stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy involves using one’s stem cells to treat inflammation. It is touted as a miracle cure for several health conditions ranging from spinal problems to wrinkles. It isn’t yet FDA approved and clinical trials are underway to explore its potential in the medical field.
Introduction to stem cell therapy:
Stem cells are immature, basic smells that haven’t yet developed into other body cells like nerve cells or skin cells. Different types of stem cells serve different needs. Our body manufactures stem cells in the bone marrow. Stem cell treatment works by harnessing the regenerative effects of stem cells.
The stem cells are believed to trigger the repair of damaged tissues. They are considered as our body’s natural healing resource and help to renew cells present throughout our body. When stem cells are injected into the injured area, it is believed to suppress inflammation and reverse disease progression.
The process involved in stem cell therapy:
The process involved in stem cell therapy for knee pain involves:
- Blood stem cells are extracted from our bone marrow through aspiration which involves minimal discomfort. It is natural to experience minimal pain after this extraction process.
- The doctor injects the extracted stem cells into the affected joints.
As per researchers stem cells deliver positive effects by developing into needed cartilage cells, suppress inflammation, and release cytokines that decrease cartilage degeneration and pain. Generally, one session would help in controlling knee/ ankle pain. Very few patients require more than one session.
Depending on the clinic you choose, stem cells can be injected along with other elements like platelet-rich plasma (PRP). PRP is also followed as a stand-alone treatment for treating arthritis. When PRP is combined with stem cell therapy for ankle pain, the effectiveness is further multiplied.
Fortunately, the side effects are minimal. Since we are injecting our stem cell, the risk of infections and complications are cut down. Some may experience temporary pain and swelling. There may be risks when:
- The wrong type of stem cell is injected
- The stem cells are cultured
- The stem cells are mixed with chemicals
Since the procedure isn’t standardized problems can arise depending on where the stem cell was harvested from, no clarity regarding the number of stem cells to be used, lack of ways to determine if a person’s stem cells are competent enough to help with healing. Many clinics perform the procedure under X-ray or ultrasound guidance to reduce the risk of complications.
Stem cell therapy isn’t yet FDA-approved for treating knee and ankle pain because of:
- Lack of ample research
- Absence of a standard procedure to preparing the necessary injection
- Lack of evidence confirming the safe results
Despite not being FDA-approved, many clinics offer this therapy as a treatment for knee and ankle pain. Due to the lack of standardization of the procedure, there is no set amount for the procedure. The cost varies between clinics and cab cost up to several thousand dollars. Only a few insurance companies cover the treatment.
Questions to ask your doctor before going ahead with the therapy?
The effectiveness of the treatment varies depending on the doctor who performs it. Before going ahead with the treatment ask the following questions to your doctor to avert risks.
- How many stem cell therapy cases have you dealt with?
- What kind of medical imaging do you employ to maximize accuracy?
- How will the extracted stem cells be harvested?
- How did your past patients with similar joint damage respond to the therapy?
- May I know about the possible risks and complications?
Looking for the best clinics in Irvine?
If you considering stem cell therapy for arthritis pain and looking for an experienced doctor in Irvine, schedule an appointment with Podiatrist Irvine. They are one of the top clinics in Irvine offering stem cell therapy services. Their experienced team of doctors extracts stems cells from a patient’s umbilical cord or bone marrow tissue.
- Umbilical cord stem cells: Double spin method is used to harvest umbilical cord stem cells. The lab staffs prepare a specific number of stem cells for injection and inject it along with rich plasma for effective and fast healing.
- Knee stem cell therapy: Their stem cell therapy is effective against knee pain and lower back pain. It is a safer alternative to knee replacement surgery. Concentrated stem cells are injected into the affected knee to initiate the healing process.
Knee and joint pain impends our ability to go on about our daily work. You don’t have to live with arthritis and knee pain. Has the problem assessed by a doctor to ensure it isn’t something serious? Talk to your doctor about how effective stem cell therapy would work for you. Try this non-invasive treatment method and get rid of knee/ joint pain.