Stem cell and PRP treatment for Arthritic knee?

Hello Trainer Road fam! I’m 32 years old and have had 2 acl replacements on my left knee already (1 on my right too, football and wrestling in HS tore 'em up)… Last one was roughly 6 years ago, and the issue is my knee is starting to get arthritic because my cartilage is gone… Enough that it bugs me daily and feel like it’s holding me back… I’ve been looking for potential fixes because after some hard racing this year the pain off the bike is getting worse. Although I don’t have a dual sided power meter I’m noticing my right leg is working much hard than my left to compensate for the pain I’m guessing. On high power workouts it’s really noticeable and frustrating. I used to do 100 mile-ish gravel events but the recovery on the knee is brutal so I’ve dialed it back to 60-70 mile stuff but am still having issues… Training workouts an hour or less are ok but going hard much longer than that usually has it feeling bad for a few days. Has anyone tried PRP or stem cells with similar knee issues with positive results? It’ll likely be a big spend but if it can delay a partial or full knee replacement for a few years maybe it’s worth it… Anyways, hope you’re all having a great riding season!
-Kyle

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Dont know if this helps …

But …

My dog had Stem Cell -
We nearly lost her at 9 years old as she was riddled with Arthritis.
We managed to get her Stem Cell treatment and she was almost like a new dog and she was good for another 3.5 years

It was expensive but worth it :slight_smile:

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If you’re in the US, I would start w/ something your insurance would actually cover. Synvisc/GelSyn/other brand injections will thicken the synovial fluid/increase viscosity, which may give you some lasting relief. Usually 3 injections, 1 per week for 3 weeks, twice a year. A lot of orthos will use these as a stop-gap measure until it’s time for a knee replacement. You can also research collagen supplementation. Pretty good evidence for it helping thicken articular cartilage, esp if taken 1 hour before exercising the joint. PRP may help w/ inflammation, but it’s not going to stimulate new cartilage growth. Intra-articular (into the joint) stem cell injections are insanely expensive ($3-5K), and haven’t really been shown to consistently improve cartilage growth. On the other hand, there are several fairly new procedures, like MACI, that use your own stem cells to grow a “patch” to put on the chondral defect. LONG rehab process, and too new for me to comment. I had a procedure where the doc drilled a hole into my femur and then injected stem cells into the bone/sub-chondral space. That has worked pretty well so far. You can also research “unloader braces”. I put a lot of patients in the Ossur brand w/ decent pain relief (this would be for every day wear, off the bike)

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Excellent, thanks for this info I’ll definitely be looking into your suggestions :pray:t2:

That’s awesome! Sorry to hear about your dog but glad it helped it :blush:

I’ve had similar issues with my left knee (developing arthritis, degenerative meniscus tearing, and a meniscal cyst). I was first diagnosed at around age 48. Currently 54 and going strong without surgery. I had two rounds of PRP injections. They helped almost immediately with swelling and discomfort. The main thing the injections enabled was getting back on the bike. Since I started training year round, I’ve noticed a considerable decrease in pain and swelling, an increase in general mobility, and an increase in knee stability. I know that I’ll probably have to have knee replacement at some point, but I’m hoping to push it into my 60s. Since replacement knees have a known shelf life of about 20 years, I’d like to avoid having to do the surgery again in my 80s (assuming I live that long).

The takeaway: I’ve benefitted from PRP and haven’t had to have repeat treatment in several years. It was relatively cheap (currently $500 at my local university medical center). YMMV, but it’s helped me stay on the bike and extend my time to knee replacement.

FWIW, my surgeon tells me my new knee (replaced Sept 2020) “should” last 30 years so at age 67 I think I’m going to be good. However, he may not have taken into full account all the “stuff” I want to put it through…

We’ll see what he has to say at my one-year check up a couple weeks out – when I’ll also talk with him more about my other knee (before the first knee we were looking at the xrays and his comment was “well, both are pretty well shot ,bone-on-bone and there’s some evidence of further issues caused by the knees being damaged. So you just tell me which you want to do first – and then let me know when the other one is bothering you enough to do that one.”).