What to Know About Stem Cell Therapy for Sports Injuries

Sports injuries can be notoriously difficult to heal completely, and often require invasive surgeries for the fullest possible recovery. Stem cell therapy has recently emerged as a promising alternative. Before determining whether this treatment could be right for you, here are a few facts to know.

Which Types of Sports Injuries Are Treated with Stem Cell Therapy?

Medical professionals can use stem cell therapy to treat a broad range of injuries, including damage to the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and cartilage. While stem cells can be used in conjunction with surgical repairs or sutures, one common, minimally-invasive approach is injection. Through this method, a provider targets the injured areas and some may use ultrasound guidance.

What Are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are the body’s natural repair kit. These cells act as the foundation for virtually all cells and have the remarkable capabilities of duplicating themselves and differentiating into specialized cell types, including muscle cells.

These cells may be derived from a patient’s own tissue, including fat (adipose) or bone marrow, as well as their blood. Some may recommend a donated source from umbilical cord tissue. Medical professionals believe that, when injected into an injured area, the cells have the potential to:

  • Combat inflammation which contributes to injuries such as tendonitis
  • Release healing proteins that slow tissue degeneration and minimize pain
  • Improve healing; for instance, by promoting the development of new blood vessels
  • Develop into the musculoskeletal cells that have been damaged, such as cartilage, bone, tendon, or ligament

Stem cell therapy can also be used with platelet rich plasma (PRP), a substance consisting of platelets and proteins that have been isolated from the whole blood. The platelets and proteins have growth factors that support cellular development and offer tremendous healing potential. Medical professionals believe that using PRP could boost stem cells’ potential healing effects.

Is Stem Cell Therapy Right for You?

If you’re considering stem cell therapy for a sports injury, it’s a good idea to have an informed conversation with your provider before starting treatment. Now that you know the basics of what this regenerative therapy entails, you can go in prepared and ask your provider:

  • How much experience do you have with stem cell therapy, particularly for treating sports injuries?
  • How will my stem cells be acquired and administered?
  • How have patients with similar conditions responded to treatment?
  • What are the potential risks associated with this therapy?

Your provider should be able to answer these questions, along with any others you may have to ensure you have all the information needed to make the best decision for your needs.

This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for traumatic brain injury, also known as stem cell therapy for traumatic brain injury. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.