As you get older, or especially if you’ve suffered a blow to the knee or taken a hard fall, you may notice certain exercises have become increasingly difficult due to knee pain.
Perhaps you’ve even experienced stiffness or swelling in your knees?
Even common everyday tasks can become difficult or painful when you have knee problems.
Things like stiffness, pain, and swelling in your knees can be the result of bone on bone friction due to injured or lost cartilage.
And, while there are currently a few methods to encourage knee cartilage regrowth, recent research has surfaced that could both regrow knee cartilage and help your body maintain that regrowth, eliminating the painful, life-limiting effects of lost and injured knee cartilage.
How Is Knee Cartilage Lost?
Cartilage is a connective tissue that acts as a cushion between your joints to reduce friction and support your body weight as you move. It can also hold together bones and support other types of tissue.
You can lose cartilage by:
- everyday wear and tear (obesity is known to exacerbate these effects)
- lack of movement (think of motion as lotion for your joints, they need regular movement to stay flexible and healthy)
- the simple effects of aging (you begin losing collagen, a primary component of cartilage, from the age of 23 on)
- injury (the most common injuries to cartilage come from falls, auto accidents, or a direct blow or heavy impact from a sport’s related injury)
And, due to the fact that cartilage lacks a blood supply, when you injure your cartilage, which is actually very common, healing time is greatly increased.
Once you injure or lose cartilage, you can then incur further damage to your joints, leading to a common type of arthritis known as osteoarthritis.
At this point, this loss of cushion leads to bone rubbing up against bone which is why you experience pain, stiffness, swelling, and a limited range of motion.
Unfortunately, cartilage isn’t known to regularly heal on its own, and when it does, it often results in irregular or “bumpy” regrowth patterns which can also contribute to osteoarthritis pain.
Regrowing Knee Cartilage
Cartilage has long been known as being incapable of completely healing on its own.
Because of this, regrowing knee cartilage primarily takes place through procedures in a lab or through other types of surgery, though some research for new methods is proving promising.
Currently, methods for regrowing knee cartilage involve actually removing stem cells or healthy cartilage cells from the knees of injured patients.
The healthy cells are then regrown in a lab (with the use of a range of substances to prompt this growth).
The regenerated cartilage is then re-inserted back into the joint.
Unfortunately, so far these methods have proven costly, and the results have been inconsistent.
There is a new clinical trial, however, that builds on this method.
This trial basically takes the above procedure one step further by regrowing the cartilage in a “three-dimensional collagen scaffold covered with a collagen membrane.” This “scaffold” is then able to be absorbed by the body.
Cartilage Regeneration Techniques
Another method for regrowing knee cartilage involves a variety of surgical techniques.
Each of these incorporates either a series of cuts, abrasions, or even drilling holes into the bone beneath the cartilage to cause bleeding.
Since cartilage doesn’t have its own blood supply, the surrounding bleeding that occurs from the bone is thought to promote healing of the nearby cartilage.
The three procedures currently incorporated to cause such bleeding in hopes of stimulating cartilage healing are known as: knee microfracture, knee drilling, and knee abrasion arthroplasty.
A few recent studies now show great promise both in cartilage healing and the subsequent improvement or alleviation of joint pain (sans bone bleeding).
A research group at a university in London has developed two ways to heal cartilage damage and facilitate its regrowth in animals.
And, so far this research has led to the same results in test tubes on human cartilage cells.
A molecule known as agrin, when implanted in bone and cartilage injuries, proved to activate stem cells that were formerly dormant in the injured joint. These stem cells then prompted the healing and repair of the injury.
Basically, this drug “talks to” the stem cells, prompting them to do their job of effectively regrowing the damaged cartilage.
Research conducted in both mice and sheep showed long-lasting regenerative effects using agrin.
As much of the research involving agrin has been limited to new injuries in young participants, findings are limited in knowing whether or not this treatment would be successful in older subjects or those with injuries sustained in years past.
But, knowing that just one administration of agrin was enough to prompt self-maintaining regeneration in the affected joints, as well as evidence of symptomatic relief, shows great promise.
Another study with equally promising results involves a molecule known as ROR2.
This molecule is one that is not found in healthy knee cartilage, yet was shown to be produced after an injury was incurred. In fact, its presence contributed to the further breakdown of cartilage in osteoarthritis.
These observations led researchers to test a hypothesis which revolved around actually blocking the ROR2 molecule to reduce the effects of osteoarthritis.
And, using a technology called “small interfering RNA” researchers were able to do just that!
By blocking ROR2, cartilage was protected and fast pain relief was documented.
Like the studies conducted using the agrin molecule, studies with ROR2 also proved effective at improving the formation of cartilage when using human cells in test tubes.
Both studies listed above claim to currently be a few years away from being able to do human clinical trials. But the findings thus far prove very promising.
Researchers hope this leads to a cure for osteoarthritis, even making it a preventable disease, thus avoiding lab created cartilage or painful surgeries involving bone bleeding to facilitate knee cartilage regrowth.
5 min Japanese “Miracle Knee Exercise” BETTER than Pain Meds?
Just about every week, I’m hearing someone talk about getting either knee therapy or getting a knee replacement.
If you struggle with range of motion with squats, lunges, or even if it’s hard to get down on the floor to play with your kids or grandkids, that’s NOT a great way to live, right?
If you struggle with irritating knee pain, or worry about the long-term side effects of pain meds, there’s no need to worry any longer.
Because you’re about to learn a 5 minute “miracle knee exercise” discovered by two Japanese medical doctors that reduces knee pain BETTER than the most powerful pain meds…
And the best part is, you can even do this simple routine from your bed tonight before falling asleep. Click below to learn this miracle exercise now: