Knee Stem Cells and Tennis
Some sports are more grueling on the knee than others. Tennis is hard on many joints the knee is one of them. Stem cell therapy has made its way into the treatment of many knee problems. Tennis and Stem Cell Therapy will most likely remain on friendly terms. Many professional athletes from a variety of sports have discussed their treatment with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). These include elite athletes from all major sports including tennis star Rafael Nadal. Most recently Nadal’s camp has stated he will undergo back stem cell treatments and has previously undergone knee stem cell treatments. Tennis fans know of Rafael Nadal’s struggles with knee problems and his frequent return to championship form following his chronic knee problems.
Trauma perpetuates knee arthritis. Repetitive trauma only aggravates this phenomenon. Early arthritis has ended many sports careers. Surgery also accelerates knee joint arthritis. Arthritis medications and cortisone injections do not halt this progression.
Though long term studies are not yet available for 20-30 year outcomes with stem cell therapy in knee arthritis, the pathophysiology of how degeneration of the knee joint is better understood now from a cellular level. The role that stem cells exert on influencing the inflammatory process is also now better understood.
Tennis will exert repetitive stress to the knee joint. This may never completely halt the degenerative cascade with repetitive micro trauma in some athletes. However, methods to aid in repair are desirable in those who wish to continue in their chosen sport. Stem Cells may exert anti-inflammatory as well as regenerative effects. The regenerative effects can occur by the formation of knee cartilage cells. This is one mechanism by which stem cells may exert positive effects in sports medicine applications.
Some athletes are blessed with good fortune and genes, and will play tennis as seniors. Others may need help.
Stem Cell Therapy may be a viable option for chronic knee problems associated with tennis.