Stem Cell Clinics Sell Bogus Cures for Knee Pain

Stem Cell Clinics Sell Bogus ‘Cures’ for Knee Pain

By Dennis Thompson | Featured on WebMD

Stem cell clinics are charging big money for knee arthritis “cures” and making extravagant claims about their therapies, a new study contends. A same-day injection for one knee costs thousands of dollars at these centers, according to a consumer survey taken of clinics across the United States.

People are paying that kind of cash because two-thirds of stem cell clinics promise that their treatments work 80 to 100 percent of the time, researchers report. But there’s no medical evidence suggesting that any stem cell therapy can provide a lasting cure for knee arthritis, said study lead researcher Dr. George Muschler, an orthopedic surgeon with the Cleveland Clinic.

“There are claims made about efficacy [effectiveness] that aren’t supported by the literature,” Muschler said. “There’s a risk of charlatanism, and patients should be aware.”Stem cells have gained a reputation as a miracle treatment and potential cure for many ailments. The cells have the potential to provide replacement cells for any part of the body — blood, brain, bones or organs. As a result, a wave of stem cell centers have opened up around the country, offering cures for a variety of diseases, Muschler said.

“It’s very sexy to market yourself as a stem cell center, so there’s been a boom of centers, probably close to 600 now in the United States offering this therapy,” Muschler said. “But the truth is that the medical literature hasn’t quite caught up to the enthusiasm in the marketplace.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expressed extreme skepticism over these centers, and in November the agency announced that it would crack down on clinics offering dangerous stem cell treatments. The “pie-in-the-sky” dream for knee arthritis patients is that a stem cell injection will produce fresh new protective cartilage in their joint, said Dr. Scott Rodeo, an orthopedic surgeon with the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

“The reality is they don’t do that. There is zero data to suggest that,” said Rodeo, who wasn’t involved with the study. “The idea these cells are going to regenerate cartilage — there’s zero data.”

At best, these injections might temporarily reduce pain and inflammation by prompting the release of soothing chemicals in the knee, Rodeo and Muschler said. To get an idea what stem cell centers are promising customers, Muschler and his colleagues called 273 U.S. clinics posing as a 57-year-old man with knee arthritis.The clinics were asked about same-day stem cell injections, how well they work and how much they cost. Of the 65 centers that provided pricing information, the average cost for a knee injection was $5,156, with prices ranging from $1,150 to $12,000, the researchers found. Fourteen centers charged less than $3,000 for a single injection, while 10 centers charged more than $8,000.

The 36 centers that provided information on effectiveness claimed an average effectiveness of 82 percent, the researchers said. Of them, 10 claimed that the injection worked 9 out of 10 times, and another 15 claimed 80 to 90 percent effectiveness. The findings were presented Tuesday at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ annual meeting, in New Orleans. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

“Patients are being told there’s an 80 percent likelihood of improvement, which is only 10 to 20 percent better than you’d expect from a placebo effect,” Muschler said. In fact, he suspects that the placebo effect is responsible for much of the improvement patients feel following a knee injection.

“People always show up to the doctor when they hurt,” Muschler said. “If I see a patient who has arthritis in their knee and I do nothing, there’s a very good chance they’re going to get better over the coming months, anyway. There’s this natural cycle of increasing and decreasing pain that’s present in the life of someone who has arthritis.”

That’s compounded by the fact that people expect to feel better after shelling out a load of cash, Muschler added. These centers generally provide three different types of treatment, only one of which actually has live stem cells involved, Muschler said.

One treatment injects the knee with platelet-rich plasma drawn from the patient’s own blood, while another uses a slurry produced from fetal tissue and fluid gathered after birth. Neither of these contains stem cells, but they are marketed as stem cell therapies, Muschler said.

A third option involves bone marrow taken from the patient and injected into the knee. This does contain a mixture of three types of stem cells, but “the evidence that you’re doing [your knees] a favor is still pretty weak in the literature,” Muschler said.People aren’t likely to be harmed by these injections, Rodeo said, but there’s not a lot of evidence that they’ll be helped. “Patients should go into it eyes wide open,” Rodeo said. “They’re paying a lot of money out of pocket, because these are not covered by insurers.” Knee arthritis sufferers would be better off trying many of the established options for reducing knee pain, Muschler and Rodeo said.

Losing weight is a “key factor,” Muschler said. “There’s very good evidence that if you are at a 5 on the pain scale and you lose 10 percent of your body weight, your pain will drop 2 points,” Muschler said. Patients also can use NSAIDs like aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling, get a steroid injection, or perform weight training to strengthen the muscles that support the knee, Muschler and Rodeo said.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

5 Best Low Impact Cardio Exercises for People with Bad Knees

5 Best Low Impact Cardio Exercises for People with Bad Knees

Article By Francesca Menato | Featured on Women’s Health

Anyone with a knee injury, new or old, will know how easy it is to feel it flair up with extreme cardio. Running, in particular, is very tough on the knees – so what exercises can you do to get the heart rate up, without hurting already bad knees?

We caught up with Lorraine Furmedge, Fitness First PT Ambassador, to find out the best workouts and exercises for bad knees.

Before you lace up your running shoes and risk another niggle, try these.

1. Swimming

If you’re on the search for cardio exercises for bad knees, head to the pool. Swimming provides a great workout that is low impact, versatile and burns calories fast. Whether you’re doing the butterfly or backstroke you’ll work all major muscle groups in your body including your glutes, abdominals and chest muscles.

Wondering which is the best stroke?

Freestyle, which tends to be the fastest stroke, can burn 100 calories every 10 minutes – more than jogging – but all of them will work your whole body.

2. Elliptical

Opt for an elliptical over a treadmill for minimal risk of knee injury. Your feet never leave the pedals, which means there is less of a chance to injure your knees, back, neck or hips. You’ll also get your heart rate up, making you work up a sweat! Increase the resistant to really test your endurance.

There’s a lot of discussion around which cardio machines burn more calories, and generally, the treadmill does tend to come out on top given you are moving whilst also supporting the full weight of your body but elliptical trainers are fantastic for getting in a great cardio workout with a bit more support.

With any form of exercise, you get out what you put in so it all depends on how hard you push and challenge yourself.

3. Stationary rowing

Rowing is a great way to burn calories without placing stress on your knee joints. Not only will you get a total body workout, you’ll also maximise your core strength with every pull.

Amp up the intensity by increasing the resistance while maintaining speed for a real cardiovascular challenge.

The more you train on a certain machine, the more stamina and strength your body will gain in that particular area, meaning the harder you have to work each time to continue challenging yourself.

If calorie burning is your main aim, switch up your routine and use a mixture of machines and freestyle training – it will keep your body guessing and will test you in different ways.

4. Cycling

Whether you prefer hitting a stationary bike indoors or riding your bicycle outside, you’ll get a fantastic fat-burning workout that will gradually improve your knee flexibility and strength.

To ensure you don’t put pressure on your knees, avoid hills and stick to a flat terrain. Raise your seat level slightly to decrease any pressure on your kneecap.

Wondering what resistance you should use? When it comes to cycling with resistance, there is no right or wrong answer.

Low resistance is great for those people who are just getting into fitness as it allows you to start building up your stamina without over-exerting yourself. Likewise, those suffering with knee injuries may find this an effective and low impact way of getting their regular exercise sessions in without causing further damage.

Medium and high resistance is more suited to those with higher fitness levels and works really well when it comes to building strength in your legs and lower body. If you’ve recently recovered from a knee injury consider using resistance to increase your strength and safeguard against any further damage.

To combine cardio and strength try some interval training and switch between low resistance sprints and medium-high resistance climbs.

Wondering about spin classes? Don’t fret. All good spin instructors will check for injuries before the class begins so let them know and they’ll be able to advise on how to best tackle the session.

Plus, the beauty of spin is that you can carry out the class at your own pace. Remember, you are in control and can adjust your pace according to your ability.

5. Step ups

For a low-impact cardio workout, turn to an aerobic step bench.

Step up onto the step with your right foot. Tap your left foot on the top of the step and then lower.

As you step up, your knee should be directly over your ankle to ensure you’re protecting your knees.

Repeat 10 times for a great calorie burn.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

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The Link Between Weight Loss and Knee Pain

Article Featured on Healthline

Why does my knee hurt?

Knee pain is one of the most common complications of being overweight or obese. If you’re among the millions of people who experience chronic knee pain, even a small weight loss can help reduce pain and lower the risk of osteoarthritis (OA).

According to a 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), of the roughly 100 million American adults who experience common chronic pain, nearly 20 percent, or 20 million people, have knee pain. This is second only to the number of people with lower back pain.

More than two-thirds of people in the United States are either overweight (with a BMI between 25 and 29.9) or obese (with a BMI of 30 or higher).

Those extra pounds increase the stress on your knees. That stress can cause chronic pain and lead to other complications such as OA.

How weight loss affects knee pain

Maintaining a healthy weight has many health benefits, including reduced risk of a number of diseases that include:

  • heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • certain types of cancers

Losing weight benefits knee pain in two ways.

Decreases weight-bearing pressure on the knees

Each pound of weight loss can reduce the load on the knee joint by 4 pounds. Lose 10 pounds, and that’s 40 fewer pounds per step that your knees must support. And the results add up quickly. Less pressure means less wear and tear on the knees. This lowers the risk of OA.

Reduces inflammation in the body

For years, OA was considered a wear and tear disease caused by prolonged excess pressure on the joints, particularly the knees, which, in turn, caused inflammation.

But recent research suggests that inflammation is a key OA risk factor, rather than a consequence of OA. Being overweight may increase inflammation in the body that can lead to joint pain. Losing weight can reduce this inflammatory response. One study suggests that just a 10 percent reduction in weight can significantly lower inflammation in the body. Another study found that even simply overeating triggers the body’s immune response, which increases inflammation.

The link between weight gain and OA

Being overweight or obese significantly increases a person’s risk for developing OA.

According to John Hopkins Medicine, women who are overweight are four times more likely to develop OA than women who are a healthy weight. And men who are overweight are five times more likely to develop OA than men who are a healthy weight.

But losing even a small amount of weight can be beneficial. For women who are overweight, every 11 pounds of weight loss can reduce the risk of knee OA by more than 50 percent. Men who drop into the overweight category (BMI below 30) and men who drop into the normal weight category (BMI below 26) can reduce their risk of knee OA by 21.5 percent.

Easy ways to lose weight

There are steps you can take to start shedding pounds, including:

  • reduce portion sizes
  • add one vegetable to your plate
  • go for a walk after a meal
  • take the stairs rather than the escalator or elevator
  • pack your own lunch instead of eating out
  • use a pedometer

Taking the necessary steps to manage your weight can help protect your knees from joint pain and reduce your risk of OA.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

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What are shin splints?

Article Featured on HealthLine

The term “shin splints” describes pain felt along the front of your lower leg/shin bone. Shin splint pain concentrates in the lower leg between the knee and ankle. Your doctor may refer to the condition as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS).

Shin splints frequently affect people who engage in moderate to heavy physical activity. You may be more likely to develop shin splints if you participate in strenuous physical activities or stop-start sports such as tennis, racquetball, soccer, or basketball. Sometimes the pain of shin splints can be so intense that you must stop the activity.

Shin splints is a cumulative stress disorder. Repeated pounding and stress on the bones, muscles, and joints of the lower legs prevents your body from being able to naturally repair and restore itself.

What causes shin splints?

The pain associated with shin splints results from excessive amounts of force on the shin bone and the tissues attaching the shin bone to the muscles surrounding it. The excessive force causes the muscles to swell and increases the pressure against the bone, leading to pain and inflammation.

Shin splints can also result from stress reactions to bone fractures. The constant pounding can cause minute cracks in the bones of the leg. The body can repair the cracks if given time to rest. However, if the body doesn’t get time to rest, the tiny cracks can result in a complete fracture or a stress fracture.

Who is at risk for shin splints?

Various activities and physical attributes can put you at risk of getting shin splints. Risk factors include:

  • an anatomical abnormality (such as flat foot syndrome)
  • muscle weakness in the thighs or buttocks
  • lack of flexibility
  • improper training techniques
  • running downhill
  • running on a slanted surface or uneven terrain
  • running on hard surfaces like concrete
  • using inappropriate or worn-out shoes for running or working out
  • participating in sports that have fast stops and starts (like soccer or downhill skiing)

Shin splints are also more likely to occur when your leg muscles and tendons are tired. Women, people with flat feet or rigid arches, athletes, military recruits, and dancers all have an increased likelihood of developing shin splints.

Symptoms of shin splints

People with shin splints will experience some of the following symptoms:

  • a dull ache in the front part of the lower leg
  • pain that develops during exercise
  • pain on either side of the shin bone
  • muscle pain
  • pain along the inner part of the lower leg
  • tenderness or soreness along the inner part of the lower leg
  • swelling in the lower leg (usually mild, if present)
  • numbness and weakness in the feet

See your doctor if your shin splints don’t respond to common treatment methods or if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • severe pain in your shin after a fall or accident
  • a shin that feels hot
  • a shin that’s visibly swollen
  • pain in your shins even when you’re resting

How are shin splints diagnosed?

Your doctor will usually be able to diagnose shin splints during a physical exam. They’ll ask you about the types of physical activities you participate in and how often you pursue them. Doctors may prescribe diagnostic tests such as imaging scans and X-rays if they suspect that you might be suffering from bone fractures or a condition other than shin splints.

Treating shin splints

Home remedies

Shin splints normally require that you take a break from certain physical activities and give your legs time to rest. The discomfort will usually resolve completely in a few hours or at most in a few days with rest and limited activity. The suggested amount of downtime is typically about two weeks. During this time, you can engage in sports or activities that are less likely to cause additional harm to your legs. These activities include swimming or walking. Your doctor will often suggest that you do the following:

  • keep your legs elevated
  • use ice packs to reduce swelling
  • take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, acetaminophen
  • wear elastic compression bandages
  • use a foam roller to massage your shins

Check with your doctor before restarting any activities. Warming up before exercising is also a good way to make sure your legs aren’t sore.

Surgery

Surgery is rarely used to treat shin splints. However, if your shins splints are causing severe pain and symptoms last for more than several months, your doctor may recommend surgery. This surgery is known as a fasciotomy. In this procedure, your doctor will make small cuts in the fascia tissue surrounding your calf muscles. This can potentially relieve some of the pain caused by shin splints.

Can shin splints be avoided?

Steps you can take to avoid getting shin splints include:

  • wearing shoes that fit well and offer good support
  • using shock-absorbing insoles
  • avoiding exercising on hard or slanted surfaces or uneven terrain
  • increasing exercise intensity gradually
  • warming up before exercising
  • making sure to stretch properly
  • engaging in strength training, specifically toe exercises that build calf muscles
  • not attempting to exercise through the pain

Any intensive exercise program requires strengthening of all surrounding muscle groups. Workouts should be varied to avoid overuse and trauma to any particular muscle group. You should refrain from any intense exercise program if severe muscle pain or other physical symptoms develop.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

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Caring for Someone With Arthritis

Article by Brett Sears | Found on VeryWell

Caring for a friend or family member with arthritis can be a challenging—yet rewarding—experience. Your loved one may have difficulty managing various components of the disease process, and being available as a trusted ally in their care can make a positive difference. But what are the best ways to help someone with arthritis?

If you have arthritis, then you know how the stiffness and pain can limit your ability to move and function properly.

The pain from arthritis can prevent you from walking properly, using your hands and arms, and enjoying your normal work and recreational activities. Encouraging family members and friends to help with your care can ensure that you manage your condition well and remain functionally independent as long as possible. Read more

Exercises That Are Easy On Your Joints

Exercises That Are Easy On Your Joints

Having rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t give you a pass to escape working out. In fact, regular exercise can keep your joints and muscles strong. It can also improve your heart health. That’ll make you better equipped to deal with complications that may crop up.

Other benefits of regular exercise include:

  • Less pain
  • More stability in your joints
  • More energy
  • Improved physical function and performance
  • Better bone health
  • Improved quality of life

Stretches

To ease joint stiffness and widen your range of motion, you need to stretch your muscles. Morning is a good time for gentle stretching or yoga. It’s also a good idea any time before exercise.

Leg/hamstring stretch: While standing, lean forward as far as you comfortably can and reach toward your toes. Make sure you bend your knees a little to keep your legs soft. Hold it for 10-20 seconds.

Finger/wrist stretch: Bend your fingers forward, then backward, holding each stretch for 10–20 seconds each time. Then do the same with your hand to stretch your wrist muscles.

Cross-body arm stretch: Put your arm across the front of your body and gently hold it for 10-20 seconds, then switch to the other arm. Next, reach up to the sky with one arm and then the other, tilting each arm slightly over your head to stretch your shoulders.

Neck stretches: Drop your head forward gently, and then roll it slowly toward one shoulder and back toward the other.

Yoga Poses

Cobra: Lie face-down on the floor, keeping your toes pointed away from you. Press your palms into the floor and slowly raise your upper body. Keep your elbows close to your side.

Extended leg balance: While standing, put all your weight on one foot. Use a chair or table for support and slowly lift your leg and hold it with one leg on the outside of your knee. For an even better stretch, rotate your leg out to the side from that position and hold.

Seated spinal twist: Sit up tall in a chair and put your hand on the outside of the opposite thigh. Gently twist in the direction of your arm and hold. Then, switch to the other side.

Strength Exercises

RA can slowly take away muscle mass. So, it’s important to work out your muscles to help them stay strong.

If you have swollen joints, you can do isometric exercises. They hold your muscles in one place. They also don’t make you move your joints.

If your joints aren’t swollen, isotonic exercises (movements that work against resistance, like weightlifting) are good for building up muscles.

Talk to your doctor before you start any kind of strength training.

Abdominal contractions: To do this isometric exercise, lie on your back and put your hands on your stomach muscles. Lift your head and hold it. You can continue this exercise by squeezing the muscles that lifted your head without actually picking it up, too.

Palm press: This is isometric, too. Hold your hands so they face each other. One hand should have fingertips up and the other should have fingertips down. Press your palms together and hold.

Bicep lifts: While you sit in a chair with your arms resting on your thighs palms up, hold light weights in your hands. Then, raise them toward your shoulders, bending at the elbow.

Seated knee lift: With a resistance band over your legs in a seated position, raise one leg slowly, then switch sides.

Exercises for Endurance

Your heart muscle needs a workout just like your biceps or quads do. Aerobic exercises raise your breathing and heart rates. Your best bets are exercises that get your blood pumping and are easy on your joints.

Walking: Daily walks are an easy way to get into the exercise groove. Start with slow and short strolls if you’re new to regular exercise. Then work up to longer, faster walks as you get stronger. Be sure to stretch before you start and after you finish. Drink plenty of water, too.

Cycling: A stationary bike takes away your risk of a fall. Again, start slowly if you’re a beginner, and go faster as you get better.

Swimming: Water workouts are great when you have RA. They take weight off your joints. They also raise your heart rate. Water also acts as resistance against your muscles. That can make you stronger.

You can swim laps or join a water aerobics class. Use water weights for some more muscle work.

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Why does the top of my foot hurt?

Article by Jennifer Berry | Found on MedicalNewsToday

The foot has a complex set of tendons, muscles, joints, and bones that enable it to work properly, as well as withstand walking, standing, and other everyday movements. Many health conditions and injuries, however, can upset the foot’s movement and balance, causing problems and pain.

Read more

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Best Cardio Workouts and Exercises for Bad Knees

By Paige Waehner | Found on VeryWell

When your knees hurt, it affects every part of your life. Chronic knee pain makes even the simplest movements, like walking up and down stairs or getting in and out of a car a challenge. And what about exercise? Read more

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5 Ways to Cope With the Changes Your Feet Undergo With Age

Article by Ruben Castenada | Found on US News

In her younger days, Chicago resident Barbara Longworth liked to wear fancy shoes with high heels on special occasions, such as receptions, weddings and dinners at nice restaurants. But through the years, her feet changed shape and seemed to get bigger. “I was about a 7 AAA, now I’m a 7 1/2 EEE – eek!” says Longworth, 88.

For the past 15 years, Longworth has exclusively worn sturdy New Balance sneakers because, she says, that brand has more room in the toe box and wider sizes. “There are no silver sequined dancing shoes for me anymore,” Longworth says. “I still walk past shoe stores with beautiful designer women’s shoes, pointy shoes with 4-inch heels, and admire them. Those are definitely out of my range now. They wouldn’t fit, and the pain would be absolutely awful.” Read more

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How We Feel Pain: Overview of the Nervous System

How does your brain know when you feel pain? How does it know the difference between the soft touch of a feather and a needle prick? And, how does that information get to your body in time to respond? How does acute pain become chronic pain? These are not simple answers, but with a little explanation about how the nervous system works, you should be able to understand the basics. Read more