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Knee osteoarthritis: Stem cells vs laser/shockwave therapy

New research continues to establish stem cell therapy as a first line of treatment for athletic joint injuries.

In the Journal of Knee Surgery doctors from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh:

  • Biologic agents (stem cells and blood platelets or PRP therapy) are gaining popularity in the management of bony and soft tissue conditions about the knee. They are becoming the mainstay of nonoperative therapy in the high-demand athletic population.

In my office I use non-invasive laser and shock wave therapy as the first line of treatment of various joint conditions. We are demonstrating improved outcomes following laser and shock wave therapy treatment compared to standard physical therapy modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation. To my knowledge, I am not aware of studies that compare TheraLase laser and Enpuls shockwave or PiezoWave acoustic wave therapy to injection. We are the most experienced Los Angeles chiropractic office for providing non-invasive treatment for early osteoarthritis of the knee, chronic patellar tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis.

  • Early clinical evidence also lends support for PRP in the augmentation of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Research investigating the role of biologic agents in collateral ligament and meniscal injuries is ongoing. Studies assessing the utility of stem cells have shown encouraging results in the setting of osteoarthritis.

Again, I prefer to have patients start with a trial of TheraLase and shock wave therapy especially for knee osteoarthritis instead of spending a lot of money and risk with shots/injections. 

  • I believe the shift is occurring where the volume and quality of evidence continues to grow for biologic agents, and laser/shock wave therapy are poised to become an integral component of comprehensive patient care throughout all orthopedic specialties.2

1 Kopka M, Bradley JP. The Use of Biologic Agents in Athletes with Knee Injuries. J Knee Surg. 2016 May 20. [Epub ahead of print]

2 Filardo G, Perdisa F, Roffi A, Marcacci M, Kon E. Stem cells in articular cartilage regeneration. Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research. 2016;11:42. doi:10.1186/s13018-016-0378-x.

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