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Regenerative Therapy-PRP & Stem Cells

Regenerative Therapy

This therapy is offered by Dr. Malone, and it is one of the most exciting advances in musculoskeletal medicine of our times. It is only in its infancy!

The term regenerative therapy refers to any technique that utilizes the body’s own healing power to REPAIR TISSUES and relieve pain. The beauty of these methods is that they use the patient’s OWN body cells to stimulate healing of any body part that is not healing on its own. We use some combination of the patient’s own stem cells, platelets, small amounts of fat from the abdomen beneath the skin, and with ultrasound-guided injections, we stimulate a chronically damaged tendon, muscle, ligament, or even a damaged joint cartilage, to heal itself. Steroids and other drugs are NOT used, and in fact, are purposely avoided. The only “drug” involved is the local anesthetic such as Novocaine or Marcaine.

There is a wide variety of conditions that lend themselves to regenerative therapies, and here are some of the most common examples:

Hip “bursitis”

This has nothing to do with the hip joint, and it is not really bursitis at all, but instead is a chronic degeneration of the tendons of the large buttock muscles that attach to the thigh bone on the outside of the upper thigh. Such degeneration of tendons is very common and can occur anywhere in the body to any tendon. This most accurately called “TENDINOSIS.” Tendinosis can be caused by an initial injury, as a result of overuse or repeated motion syndromes, can be associated with certain inflammatory or autoimmune illnesses, and even can be caused by some prescription drugs. Unless correctly diagnosed and properly treated, tendinosis can persist and cause disabling pain for months to years, with an increased in the risk of tendon rupture. The basic problem is that the tendon cannot heal on its own.

Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow

These common problems have nothing to do with the elbow joint and are also forms of tendinosis. They are caused by the inability of diseased, injured, or worn out forearm tendons to correctly heal, so symptoms go on for years. Steroid (cortisone) injections only relieve symptoms temporarily, and there is NO HEALING that results from cortisone injection, so the condition continues without improvement. In fact, repeated cortisone injections actually WEAKEN the diseased tendon, and could ultimately lead to rupture of the tendon.

Painful Achilles’ Tendon Lumps and Nodules

This is also a tendinosis of the very important Achilles tendon, behind the ankle. Injecting it with cortisone runs a high risk of rupture of the tendon, although many doctors take the safer route of injecting cortisone around, but not into, the tendon. Sadly, these injections, as in all chronic tendinosis, do not result in healing, and within a few weeks after the injection, symptoms return in full force.

Rotator Cuff Syndrome

This is one of the most common forms of tendinosis, and it affects the tendons of the shoulder muscles that govern motions of the shoulder in elevation, rotation, pushing, pulling, throwing, and other shoulder motions. Shoulder tendinosis has a variety of causes too, including wear and tear injuries, tears of the rotator cuff, bone spurs, and overuse. The common symptoms is PAIN, which is often severe enough to interfere with daily activities, work, and with sleep. As in the other tendinosis, cortisone injections are only temporary, and symptoms return. The tendons do not heal.

For all of these tendinosis, regenerative therapy is preferable to cortisone injections in those patients whose symptoms persist for more than a few months. If you suffer from any of these conditions or need to seek help for carpal tunnel syndrome, please contact Dr. Dan Malone in Madison or Columbus to learn more.

It is important to remember that regenerative treatments should NOT be the first intervention, because in 80% of tendinosis cases the pain and stiffness will resolve over a few months with physical therapy, stretching, and range of motion exercises, and in some, without any treatment at all.  Regenerative therapy is most helpful for the 20% that do not heal with these more conservative treatments.

Plantar Fasciitis

This very common disorder produces mild to severe pain in the heel.  Walking, and even simple weight bearing, cause discomfort.  Every step is painful.  The cause is yet another kind of tendinosis, this one in a large foot sole tendon known as the plantar fascia.  Tendinosis here is often treated with stretching exercises and use of shoe insertion pads, and 80% of the time this treatment works.  For the other 20%, a regenerative medicine procedure is best.  Treatments such as surgical cutting of the fascia and steroid injections are often suggested, but are not recommended by Dr. Malone.