Knee arthritis or osteoarthritis (OA) is a progressive disorder. The hallmark is the underlying degeneration of joint cartilage. Stem cells have been used for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. Knee Stem Cell Therapy is gaining popularity as a treatment alternative for degenerative osteoarthritis.
Knee Osteoarthritis (OA) the Underlying Problem
Knee OA is characterized by many underlying factors. It is not just a wear and tear disorder, but a complex interaction of many factors at play.
Knee OA Associated Factors:
Biomechanical abnormalities (Joint laxity or leg length differences)
Prior knee surgery
Other arthritic joints
Local inflammatory mediators (cytokine dysregulation)
Knee OA Progression
Over time repeat x-Rays at 3 and 5 year intervals have shown great variability. Some individuals will show rapid degeneration during this time, while others are slowly progressive. Some patients have silent arthritis. They changes are occurring, yet symptoms may be absent.
Some patients develop symptoms late in life, yet when they present for evaluation their x-rays show severe degeneration.
Stem Cell Treatment
Studies have shown prescription arthritis medications (NSAIDS’s) do not alter the course of degenerative osteoarthritis, nor does cortisone injections, or debridement of the meniscus with arthroscopic surgery.
Stem cells may exert an effect on degenerative osteoarthritis by regulating the function of chemical mediators of joint breakdown, the catabolic cytokines.
Stem cells may also exert a reparative effect by promoting anabolic cytokine signaling which acts to build new cartilage. This reparative effect can also be regenerative through the direct actions of stem cells to form new cartilage cells, or the recruitment of progenitor cells which are precursor cells to cartilage cells.
The many effects of stem cells have the ability to halt the progression of degenerative arthritis, or in some cases to restore balance to normal cell functioning. Stem cells may create repair, which can be seen as reversing the degeneration of knee osteoarthritis.