Regenerative Orthopedics and Sports Medicine: A Natural Fit


Regenerative Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Dealing with the consequences of Injuries, aging, and everyday wear and tear is an inevitable part of life for athletes and active individuals. Fortunately sports medicine helps people recover from conditions that affect their mobility and range of movement. This blog focuses on a new type of sports medicine that works to promote the body’s healing processes: regenerative orthopedics.

What is regenerative medicine in orthopedics?

Regenerative medicine at Alexander Orthopaedic Associates is an innovative approach to treating injuries and conditions related to bones, joints, muscles, and connective tissues. Instead of relying solely on surgeries, it harnesses your body’s natural healing abilities to promote tissue repair and regeneration. Our specialized techniques aim to enhance your body’s healing powers, minimizing pain and potentially avoiding the need for invasive procedures.

What do orthopedic surgeons do in sports medicine?

Orthopedic surgeons who specialize in sports medicine diagnose, treat, and prevent musculoskeletal issues that arise from sports and physical activities. At Alexander Orthopaedics, we have specialists who focus specifically on sports medicine – experts who are dedicated to helping athletes and active individuals recover from injuries, prevent future problems, and optimize their performance. 

If you’re an athlete or you engage in regular physical activity and experience muscle or joint issues, consulting with an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine will give you a chance to receive expert care tailored to your health needs.

What are the benefits of regenerative orthopedics in sports medicine?

Regenerative treatments offer significant advantages for athletes and active individuals dealing with injuries or musculoskeletal conditions. Here are some key benefits:

Tissue Repair and Regeneration – Specialized therapies like stem cell therapy, amniotic tissue treatments, and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections stimulate your body’s natural healing mechanisms. This encourages repair and regeneration of damaged tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage.

Minimally Invasive Procedures – Many regenerative orthopedic procedures involve injections rather than major surgery. This means shorter recovery times, less pain, and reduced risk of complications compared to traditional surgical approaches.

Reduced Need for Surgery – Regenerative treatments can offer an alternative to surgery for some injuries, allowing athletes to avoid the downtime and rehabilitation associated with surgical procedures.

Faster Recovery – Regenerative therapies can accelerate healing, allowing athletes to return to competition sooner. This helps maintain fitness levels and prevent deconditioning during recovery.

Personalized Treatment – Regenerative orthopedics tailors treatment plans to each patient’s needs. Your injury type, overall health, and recovery goals influence the customized approach.

Natural Healing – These therapies use your body’s own healing mechanisms, using substances like stem cells and growth factors. This aligns with your body’s biology, leading to more natural and sustainable healing.

Improved Quality of Life – A pain-free return to sports and activities enhances overall quality of life for athletes and active individuals.

What are the risks of regenerative orthopedics?

While regenerative medicine treatments are generally considered safe, there are still risks and special considerations to discuss with your doctor. It’s crucial to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your orthopedic specialist before undergoing any regenerative orthopedic procedure and determine if they are an appropriate choice for your specific situation or injury.

Although regenerative medicine has relatively low risk when compared to more tradition open surgical approaches, there are some potential risks associated with these treatments that you should be aware of:

Infection: As with any injection or surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection at the injection site or surgical site, although this is a very low risk. Proper sterilization and hygiene practices are essential to minimize this risk. 

Pain and Discomfort: After regenerative procedures, patients may experience pain, swelling, and discomfort at the injection site. This is usually temporary and can be managed with pain medications. This typically resolves as the body undergoes the natural healing process.

Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may be allergic to components used in regenerative treatments, such as materials in the injection solutions or scaffold materials. Allergic reactions can vary in severity and may require medical attention, but are generally uncommon.

No Guaranteed Results: While regenerative therapies offer the potential for tissue repair and healing, there is no guarantee that they will provide the desired results. Outcomes can vary from person to person, and some patients may not experience significant improvement.

Cost: Regenerative orthopedic treatments can be costly, and they may not be covered by insurance. Patients should consider the financial implications before pursuing these therapies and carefully weigh the risks versus benefits.

Popular treatments in regenerative orthopedics and sports medicine

Regenerative medicine treatments in orthopedics aim to enhance the body’s natural healing processes and promote accelerated tissue repair. Some common regenerative medicine treatments include:

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy: PRP is derived from a patient’s own blood and contains a concentrated amount of platelets and growth factors. It is injected into the affected area to stimulate tissue repair, reduce inflammation, and promote healing in conditions like tendonitis, ligament injuries, and osteoarthritis.

Stem Cell Therapy: Stem cells can be harvested from various sources, such as bone marrow, adipose tissue (fat), or umbilical cord tissue. These cells have the potential to differentiate into various cell types, and they are used for their ability to promote tissue regeneration in conditions like cartilage defects and osteoarthritis.

Amniotic Fluid and Amniotic Membrane Injections: Amniotic fluid and membrane products contain growth factors, cytokines, and other bioactive molecules that can reduce inflammation and promote healing. They are often used in joint and soft tissue injuries and have many of the same properties of PRP treatments with some additional advantages.

Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI): ACI is a surgical procedure that involves taking a small sample of a patient’s healthy cartilage, growing it in a lab, and then implanting the cultured cells into the damaged area of the joint. It is primarily used for cartilage defects in the knee.

Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC): BMAC is a procedure that involves extracting bone marrow from a patient’s hip or ankle/foot bone, concentrating the stem cells and growth factors, and injecting them into an injured joint or bone to stimulate healing and tissue regeneration. BMAC can also be combined with allograft to enhance healing and incorporation into the body.

Shockwave Therapy: Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) involves the use of high-energy shockwaves to stimulate blood flow, reduce pain, and promote tissue repair in conditions like plantar fasciitis and tendinopathy.

Hyaluronic Acid Injections: Hyaluronic acid is a natural component of joint fluid. Injections of hyaluronic acid can help lubricate joints, reduce pain, and improve mobility in patients with osteoarthritis.

Growth Factor Injections: Various growth factors, such as fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF), can be injected into injured areas to stimulate tissue repair and regeneration.

Who is a good candidate for regenerative medicine?

You might be a good candidate for regenerative medicine if:

  • You have mild to moderate injuries
  • You’re seeking non-surgical options
  • You’re in overall good health

Candidates with localized injuries and realistic expectations about outcomes tend to benefit most from these treatments.

What is the success rate of regenerative orthopedic treatments?

Success rates vary based on treatment, injury severity, patient health, and adherence to post-treatment care. While some experience significant improvement, others might have limited or no improvement. Mild to moderate cases tend to respond better to regenerative treatments, and patient selection is crucial.

What are the risks of delaying regenerative orthopedic treatment?

Delaying treatment can lead to worsening conditions, chronic pain, functional limitations, increased risk of injury, and decreased quality of life. The specialists at Alexander Orthopaedic Associates can guide you on the right timing for treatment.

What should I expect after regenerative orthopedic treatment?

After treatment, you might experience temporary discomfort and swelling. Activity modification, rehabilitation exercises, gradual improvement, follow-up appointments, and realistic expectations are key to your recovery.

Is regenerative orthopedic treatment covered by insurance?

Insurance coverage varies depending on policy type, treatment, medical necessity, and FDA approval. Much regenerative medicine is relatively new, which means some insurance companies may not yet cover it. At Alexander Orthopaedic Associates, we strive to guide you through insurance obstacles and provide affordable other options when needed.

Schedule an appointment with a regenerative orthopedic specialist

Regenerative medicine is a promising new field that helps athletes and active adults recover more quickly than they could in the past. Our sports medicine specialists can provide personalized guidance to determine the best treatment plan for you. Contact us to schedule an appointment and explore your regenerative orthopedic options.