Whether you’re a professional athlete or someone who enjoys playing casually on the weekend, sports injuries are a common consequence of playing a game you love. Unfortunately, sports injuries are more prevalent as we get older, and recovery takes longer.
However, regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, offers a new treatment option to shorten recovery time and reduce the effects of chronic injuries. While similar treatments, like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapies, have long been used to speed healing in muscle and tendon injuries, stem cell therapy may offer a new method to repair and regenerate damaged tissue.
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are the building blocks of cells in the body. They are the only cells that can divide to create new, specialized cells such as muscle or blood cells. Stem cells lie dormant in bone marrow, fat, or other body tissue and are activated to repair and restore damaged cells as needed.
In stem cell therapy for sports injuries, a physician extracts stem cells from a patient, most commonly taking mesenchymal stem cells from their autologous tissue to be able to re-administer to the targeted injury sites.
There, the stem cells work, dividing to create one “daughter cell” that serves as a new stem cell and one specialized cell that differentiates based on the damaged area’s needs.
How Can Stem Cells Treat Sports Injuries?
In recent years, stem cell therapy for sports injuries has expanded rapidly. Stem cells can potentially manage many slow-healing injuries, especially in the tendons, cartilage, and muscle.
Most stem cell therapy options for orthopedic concerns use mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), as one of their primary functions includes inhibiting inflammation after tissue damage. MSCs can release growth factors and extracellular vesicles contributing to tissue repair and can differentiate into bone cells, cartilage, and fat cells.
MSCs have the ability to steadily and rapidly regenerate new tissue, so patients with severe injuries that often result in permanent damage may see a reduction in chronic pain, inflammation, and recurring injuries.
Stem Cells May Permanently Change Sports Injury Treatments
The potential of stem cells to reduce inflammation, regenerate damaged tissue, and manage pain offers patients sidelined with a sports injury an option to speed healing and comfort, ultimately allowing them to return to their activities faster and with less potential ongoing problems.
While researchers are still investigating to determine standard guidelines for stem cell therapies, many patients are exploring this alternative option for relief and healing.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions. We also offer Personalized Pain Management In St Petersburg FL.