There are a number of new technologies in the sports medicine space that promise to get you back in the game more quickly. How do you as the patient know what to believe? One important question is “Does the technology provide long term relief”." If the patient has shown noticeable improvement immediately after prescribed treatment but returns to symptoms after activity, they will be left unsatisfied with the treatment. David Armstrong, DPM, MD (University of Arizona) adds that it is difficult to cut through the noise around many technologies. It is expensive to run good quality studies and smaller companies rely on 510k status to cover like technologies. On the other hand, he believes some potential good technologies never see the light of day.
The other question to ask is how the natural progression of the acute or chronic injury compares with the improvement noted after intervention. One example is heel pain. Studies have stated that there may be as high as 90% conservative improvement with heel pain. Specialists obviously will get the recalcitrant cases. The argument can be made that continuing a trajectory of failed treatments will cost more money than an intervention that will cure the problem earlier. For example, there are about 1 million patient visits for plantar fasciitis alone in the United States with an estimated cost of $192 million to $376 million dollars. The average time for resolution for plantar fasciitis is about 18 months. Look for part 2 on this topic Thursday.
It's a brave new world of regenerative medicine. David Armstrong DPM, MD has a lecture devoted to replacement parts.
Another type of regenerative medicine is using cells to repair injuries.
With appropriate cell signaling organs can be created from cells. Amnion cells are being used to help heal injuries.
They are more potent than stem cells derived from our own bodies because they are not worn down with age. Industry studies, including one with Dr. James Andrews as a secondary author, that are double blinded have shown some promise injecting these substances into injured area like the ankle and plantar fascia as well as arthritic joints. Dr. Andrews is the consultant orthopedic surgeon to NFl teams with tricky knee injuries like RGIII's. Stay tuned!
I started this blog to share cutting-edge knowledge from my medical practice and my experience with athletes and as an athlete myself. I was a walkon at I.U. for track and after getting hurt my first season switched over to bike racing and raced in the "Little 500". I teach skiing professionally and also fit soccer in between bike riding and running. You know who you are: the weekend warrior and more serious athletes: the best insights, protocols, tips, and tricks for training and living injury free. I welcome your feedback.