Colorado has over 20 ski resorts spread throughout the state and is home to one of the longest ski seasons in the country. The longer the ski season, the greater chances there are for injury. To help treat both acute and chronic injuries, we provide stem cell therapy for skiers in both our Vail and Denver clinics. The stem cell treatments for joint injuries and low back pain have been an effective treatment to allow patients to quickly return to skiing and other activities they love.
Like you, we have a passion for skiing and understand that you want to stay active for many years to come. To help you do so, we put together this comprehensive guide. Read on to learn about the regenerative potential of stem cells to help heal acute injuries and chronic orthopedic conditions typically associated with skiers.
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Most Common Ski Injuries and Conditions
Aging athletes, especially skiers, often suffer from progressively worsening pain and arthritis from degenerative joint disease in knees, hips and the lumbar spine. This is a very passionate group of people who want to remain active for as long as possible in order to be able to continue to enjoy their favorite pastime. These are patients that frequently benefit from stem cell therapy to their affected joints or discs. There are few sports that put more stress, pressure, and wear and tear on lower extremity joints and lumbar discs than skiing.
Knee injuries make up 30-40% of all ski injuries. This is simply due to the nature of skiing – the body position, speed and quick changes in direction. One of the most common acute knee injuries that we see in our offices due to skiing is a partial tear in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This is important for women to note, as ACL tears in women are ten times more likely than in men. Chronic conditions due to skiing are also very common, for example knee cartilage loss due to years of impact.
Many skiers experience chronic back pain as they age. These conditions include degenerative disc disease, facet joint syndrome, and whiplash.
How Skiers Can Minimize Their Risk of Injury
Using stem cells early in the degenerative process can also prevent degeneration from progressing and may help avoid knee or back surgery.There are a number of preventative measures that skiers can do to try to slow the degenerative process. By staying fit and limber the muscles that support the joints and low back work to protect the vulnerable areas from impact, which helps minimize the risk of injury. Choosing to avoid hard packed and icy conditions can also lower the risk of injury.
Making the decision to take advantage of the regenerative properties of stem cell therapies early in the degenerative process can also prevent degeneration from progressing to critical levels and may help avoid invasive knee surgery or back surgery.
Skiers Avoid Knee, Hip & Back Surgery with Stem Cells
Skiers with knee injuries are often told that surgery is required and the ski season is over. Similarly, skiers with severe back pain are often forced to limit their number of ski days. Yet, depending on the injury, undergoing surgery or avoiding skiing for the rest of one’s life may not have to be the answer. Recovery may be much faster than you may think.
Many skiers who have visited our Colorado facilities were able to avoid knee replacement or other invasive surgery, and return to skiing by treating their knee injury with stem cell therapy instead. In a similar fashion, we have had success with helping skiers and other patients find an alternative to spinal fusion and other invasive back surgery. A consultation with an experienced stem cell doctor will help determine if you’re a good candidate for stem cell treatment.
Research studies support our own experience with using stem cells as a joint or back surgery alternative. Learn more from scientific publications on stem cells for articular cartilage regeneration, osteoarthritis in the knee, discogenic back pain, or intervertebral disc regeneration.
There are a few key advantages of stem cell therapy over invasive surgery, these include:
- No risk of rejection – we use your own biological material
- Minimally invasive character – the out-patient procedure can be performed in approximately 3 hours using only mild oral medication and IV sedation
- No communicable disease transmission – as the cells are your own
- Speedy recovery time – stem cell patients may return to work in a couple of days
What Makes for Successful Stem Cell Procedures
We follow a set of best practices that give stem cell treatments for skiers a higher potential for success. First, in order to maximize the number of cells and growth factors available for treatment, a combination of fat-derived stem cells and bone marrow are harvested and prepared for the procedure. Second, having a skilled and experienced physician performing your procedure is key. Third, to assure that the cells are placed perfectly in the damaged joint or disc, live x-ray guidance is used during the injection. The combination of excellent tissue harvest and cell preparation, combined with optimal image-guided injections and extensive physician experience, dramatically improves outcomes.
Steps of a Stem Cell Procedure
During the initial consultation, the patient undergoes a history and physical examination as well as a full review of their imaging studies. Once it is determined that the patient is a good candidate for treatment, a procedure date can be scheduled.
The stem cell procedure is completed in approximately 3 hours. During this time, we will harvest the stem cells, separate and concentrate the necessary biologics and perform the stem cell injection. Stem cell therapy is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed in an outpatient setting and does not require a general anesthetic. Pain and discomfort are minimal and patients typically can return to work within a couple of days.
We believe that recovery from skiing related injuries and chronic conditions is best achieved by using a combination of these biologics: adipose (fat) derived stem cells, bone marrow-derived stem cells, and platelet rich plasma (PRP). All of these components are harvested from the patient during the procedure time. They work together to help repair the damaged tissue.
Recovery & Return to Skiing after a Stem Cell Procedure
After a stem cell procedure, patients walk out of our office without assistance. There is minimal discomfort post-procedure and patients do not require braces or crutches. Patients typically begin to see improvement in the first four to twelve weeks. Our patients often experience decreased inflammation, pain reduction and an increase in mobility and function.
Decreased inflammation, pain reduction and an increase in mobility and function.
Stem Cell Case Studies about Skier Patients
Patient from Denver Uses Stem Cells to Avoid Knee Replacement, Returns to Skiing
Former competitive tennis player and skier, with degeneration of soft tissue and arthritic changes in the knee, uses stem cell injections as an alternative to knee replacement surgery. Returns to golf and skiing.
Patient from Vail Uses Stem Cells to Heal Degenerative Discs, Returns to Golf & Skiing
Active resident of Vail turns to stem cell therapy to relieve low central back pain. Notes dramatic improvement in pain levels, flexibility, comfort.
Stem Cell Reviews by Skiers
A great way to learn about what stem cells may be able to do for your skiing is to read through authentic reviews. Our patients commonly leave us online reviews about stem cells for knees, hips and other joints, as well as about stem cells for back pain.
More Skiing, No Icing
Stem Cells for Knees“I just wanted to give an update regarding the stem cell procedure performed by Dr. Brandt at Thrive about 3 years ago. My range of motion continues to improve–remarkable at 64.I skied 150k in 5 days last week and never iced my knee once. I can’t remember skiing that many feet w/out having to ice in the last 20 years. The knee treated has been without an acl since I was 18 and is pretty severely arthritic,but I am getting better performance now than I have in recent memory. Thank you, Dr. Brandt!!”
Posted on Google reviewsJohn from Boulder, CO, Google Reviews, January 2017
Lower Back as Good as New for the Ski Season in Vail, CO
Stem Cells for Lumbar Discs
“Dr. Brandt is a pioneer in this promising field and we are fortunate to have him in the Vail Valley. I believe the discs in my lower back will be as good as new by the 2015 ski season based on my three month recovery since having two rounds of stem cell injections in June.”Steve from Denver, Colorado, email, September 2014