Knee and joint pain is a problem that can be experienced by everyone at some stage in their lives but if the problem persists it can cause more than pain…
One of the simplest mechanisms in the body, the knee, plays a crucially important role in our day-to-day life. When we experience pain it can seriously hinder even the most mundane tasks such as walking and sitting. As we age, our joints, especially the knees, can begin to suffer after years of activity. This is when problems such as knee pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis and other disorders can begin to negatively affect and hinder our ability to use our knees without pain.
Let us take a look at the inside of the knee…
The knee is virtually a hinge joint that allows movement back and forth in one direction, helping us move our legs and keep balance. There are other instances in our skeletal design that use hinge joints such as the arms, fingers and toes but the hinge joint in the knees works to provide movement for the femur (thigh bone) and tibia/fibula (shin) so they move in tandem. This movement gives us the ability to become mobile or stationary. Without this joint we would be unable to bend over, kneel, jump, kick, cross legs etc., the list is endless.
Connecting the fibula/tibia to the femur is a string of collagen fibres that band together to form a connective tissue called ligaments. The ligaments are slightly elastic so they have a fair bit of flexibility, but if they are stretched too much they can compromise the joint. Inside the knee there is the anterior cruciate ligament and the posterior cruciate ligament which allow flexibility for the hinge joint to swing back and forth. There is also a medial collateral ligament and lateral collateral ligament which help to stabilise the joint. In between the bones is a thick cartilage and synovial membrane containing synovial fluid which allows movement between the two bones without them rubbing together.
What causes knee and joint pain?
Knee and joint pain can be caused by a variety of factors. The human skeleton is designed to distribute pressure evenly throughout the body and when our bodies experience shifts in this equilibrium it can affect the even distribution of pressure when we are mobile. This shift can cause painful pressure on our bones and joints and cause them to become inflamed and swollen. Like any type of pain there has to be a cause to incur some effect and three of the common motivators for knee and joint pain are genetic differences, high physical activity and trauma, and weight.
Genetic differences such as genu varum (bowed legs) or genu valgum (knock-knee) are types of genetic designs causing the tibia and the fibula (lower leg/shins) to curve either outward or inward, thus distributing pressure unevenly when we move. This uneven stress can cause quicker deterioration of the knee joints, inflammation and eventually, if unattended, can turn into osteoarthritis.
High physical activity and trauma are strong motivators for knee and joint weakness and pain. Athletes are more prone to developing knee and joint pain because they are engaging in higher levels of physical activity than the average person and people who experience trauma to the legs or knees are more likely to develop knee and joint pain. This is because there is an increased amount of pressure on the joint from the constant activity and the joint can become open to erosion; if the knee experiences trauma it will become weakened.
Weight can also play a significant role in the distribution of pressure on our joints, especially the knee joints as those who scale overweight or obese are putting extreme amounts of weight on the joint whether they are stationary or mobile. The knee joints are designed to handle the weight of the entire body and rely on the distribution of pressure to remain intact but when the pressure is too strong the knee joint will deteriorate over time.
How can stem cell therapy help severe and chronic knee and joint pain?
Stem cell therapy is a bio-compatible process which uses the patient’s own cells in order to repair damaged tissue. Stem cell therapy can help reduce severe or chronic pain in the knees or joints of the affected person by using their stem cells to restore function to the damaged tissue.
Inside the body we play host to stem cells, which are cells that have the ability to segregate into other cells. They are virtually ‘blank’ and adapt to the environment that they reside in. These types of cells can be found in abundance inside adipose (fat) tissue. Our medical doctors extract this adipose tissue using a mini-liposuction procedure and then the stem cells are extracted from the adipose fat using the autologous extraction procedure. These stem cells are then injected back into your body via the affected area and over time the cells adapt and work to bring function back to the joint and relieve the pain.
Would you like to find out more about stem cell therapy? Give Macquarie Stem Cells a call today on 1800 STEM CELLS or on 02 982 430 44 to book a consultation.
Michalek J, et al, Autologous adipose tissue-derived stromal vascular fraction cells application in patients with osteoarthritis. Cell Transplant. 2015 Jan 20. doi: 10.3727/096368915X686760
Caplan et al, The MSC: An Injury Drugstore, DOI 10.1016/j.stem.2011.06.008
Lu et al, Activation and promotion of adipose stem cells by tumour necrosis factor-α preconditioning for bone regeneration. J Cell Physiol. 2013 Aug;228(8):1737-44. doi: 10.1002/jcp.24330