Weekly Educational- 20200727- Replay
Can regenerative treatments help in bone on bone arthritis?
Importance of variables such as age, range of motion, which joint is affected, and patient goals of treatment.
Importance of stability, alignment, inflammation, and optimizing cellular health of the affected joint.
Cases- Hip, Knee, Ankle examples.
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Hello, everyone. This is Siddharth Tambar from Chicago Arthritis and Regenerative Medicine, and welcome to our weekly educational broadcast that is live. It’s July 27th, 2020, and thank you for joining me today. So, on this weekly broadcast I focus on questions that my own team and patients are frequently asking, or from the past week, and applying that to cases that I’ve seen in the last week to give some perspective and go over kind of big picture principles in terms of what we’re doing here at Chicago Arthritis and Regenerative Medicine, where our focus is on evaluation and treatment of arthritis, tendonitis, injuries and back pain, with the most cutting edge treatment options available that are low-risk and high in terms of benefit. So, a question that Jackie from my office kind of transferred over to me from a patient, or a potential patient, was can regenerative treatments help in bone on bone arthritis? A really super common question, and the intention is that this is likely someone who is seeing their physician, either orthopedic surgeon or primary care doctor, and has been told that on their x-ray they have significant arthritic issues, and have been told that they have bone on bone arthritis, and that they may not be, that they may only be a candidate for a replacement surgery or some other kind of similar treatment protocol. And really common question that comes up, because the reality is that most people, when it comes to their musculoskeletal health generally are approaching it as something that they’re really only addressing when things have progressed to a severe stature, and obviously it’d always be helpful if you can catch this at an earlier stage. But the reality is there’s nuances to when we say someone has bone on bone arthritis. To begin with, it depends on what joint’s affected, it depends on the range of motion, and it depends on what the goals are of treatment. So, range of motion is a big one in the sense that if range of motion is still intact, or still fairly good, you have to ask, “What exactly do we mean by bone on bone?” If you’re really, truly bone on bone, you really shouldn’t have regular range of motion, and an example of that would be someone who has significant hip arthritis and can’t really move the hip, let’s say inward, or internal rotation. On the other hand, you can have someone that has really advanced or severe arthritis of the knee, and their range of motion is still close to intact or still very good. And so it’s important to understand that sometimes what we see in x-ray does not necessarily translate to what’s actually happening to that individual, and may not necessarily be fully representative of what the problem is. So, a classic example of that is someone who has, let’s say pain in one knee, let’s say their right knee, and their x-ray shows advanced arthritis, and they also happen to have an x-ray of the left knee, and it turns out the x-ray of the left knee actually looks worse than the right knee, and they don’t actually have any pain in the left knee. And it’s a great example of where imaging or x-rays don’t always call out the full, don’t always tell the full story. And it’s important to understand that x-rays and imaging can tell you one thing, but they don’t give you the full story. The other aspect to that is, let’s say somebody’s had an MRI and shows significant findings. Now their pain, someone that has a degenerative process, their pain does not only come from what you see in the cartilage wear, they have pain that’s coming from the bone, from the soft-tissue structures, they have pain that’s coming from various other areas as well, and so these are other areas that can still be treated. And range of motion is a big one because if your range of motion is still intact, it likely indicates that you can still benefit from treatment. The other part of that is also what joint is affected. So, it’s super common that I hear patients who’ve got knee arthritis say that, hey, they have bone on bone knee arthritis, or they’ve been told that, and can these treatments help? And the reality is that the evidence out there for platelet-rich plasma and bone marrow derived stem cells is that wear and tear arthritis in the knee, that even when it’s advanced that people can still get a good degree of pain relief and functional improvement. In fact, there is suggestion that degree of arthritis when it comes to the knee does not make a difference in terms of the ability to have improvement in symptoms. Now, the flip side is if somebody has more advanced hip arthritis where range of motion is gone, then that’s a more challenging category, and that’s someone who likely is a better candidate for let say, hip replacement surgery. So, it does matter which joint is affected, and it does matter, range of motion as well. So, those are really the two big things. Then I think the last thing is what are the goals of treatment that are being pursued. So, in someone that has bone on bone arthritis, we can still help in the following ways, we can help with stability, we can help with chronic inflammation, we can help with alignment, and we can help by improving and optimizing the cellular health of the joint. All of those things can be done non-surgically. They can be done either utilizing just good strengthening exercises, weight loss, over the counter supplements, bracing, and also regenerative medicine treatments, including platelet-rich plasma, bone marrow derived stem cells, adipose micro-fragmented cells, and even dextrose prolotherapy. All of those things can actually be helpful, when your goal is pain relief and functional improvement, and that’s because we can help in those other aspects, we can help with stability by strengthening the soft tissue structures, with strengthening exercises, not to mention with the regenerative medicine treatments, we can help with inflammation with over the counter supplements, dietary changes, and there’s also benefit from the regenerative medicine treatments when it comes to reducing inflammation longer term. Alignment can be improved with physical therapy and bracing, and optimizing the cellular health, meaning you take a joint where the cells are chronically damaged and no longer functioning well, you can get them to function better by injecting the right kind of cells in there. Bone marrow aspirate concentrate has mesenchymal stem cells, and the growth factors within that as well can help to stimulate the local cells in the joint that had been damaged. Optimizing the cellular health along with those other factors can help with pain relief and functional improvement. So, if the goal is improving pain and function, then even if you have bone on bone arthritis, in the right occurrences and in the right patients, you can still get those kind of outcomes. So, a couple of patient examples from this past week where I think that’s all very relevant. So, the first is a woman who is in her early 70s, she is still an active nurse, she actually works in a hospital where she’s actively kind of running things, and she’s very active, walking, almost running around just because it’s so busy, and she’s developed pain in her left hip. So, her range of motion is still intact, the issues in her case are, number one, what’s her degree of arthritis, because we know in someone, when it comes to hip arthritis in particular, as they get older they become a harder and harder candidate with these kind of treatments. And so it’s going to be important to get the right kind of imaging, meaning an MRI to figure out, along with her symptoms, which is pain in the groin in front of the hip, that is she a proper a candidate. And if her MRI shows that she’s got mild to moderate arthritis, and her range of motion is still intact, then despite her age, she’s someone who could still benefit from treatment. On the other hand, if her hip MRI shows more advanced arthritis and she’s really at the tip of really kind of progressively getting dramatically worse, then anything from the regenerative medicine treatment standpoint might be more short term oriented, might be able to help with some of the soft tissue kind of strains and pains that can occur in the degenerative arthritis, but she may be someone who’s headed towards hip replacement faster. So, in that case, telling whether somebody is quote-unquote, “bone on bone,” will make a big difference. Another example would be a woman who I’ve seen kind of for the last, I think seven years, and she intermittently, we’re treating, you know, maybe a hip, a knee, an ankle, a lower back over the last seven years, probably three or four times we’ve treated something or another. And in her case, she really does have pretty significant knee arthritis. What’s been described on x-rays as bone on bone. And she’s someone where her range of motion is still intact, she’s still very highly physically active, still in good general health, and she’s someone who with just platelet-rich plasma has done great. Even though her x-ray shows, you know, bone on bone, she’s someone who, because we’ve been able to help with stability, chronic inflammation, alignment, and optimizing the health of the joint, we’ve been able to give her, really, a great degree of pain relief and functional improvement over the last several years. And a contrast to, let’s say a hip patient, where someone who can still do really, really well. The last one is a patient of mine who I treated four years ago, he has a pretty bad ankle. And he’s someone who has a baseline pseudo-gout, and so he’s had chronic inflammation that caused bad damage in his ankle, and by the time he came to me, he had, you know, what’s been called bone on bone arthritis in the ankle, and that’s very legitimate. He had limited range of motion in the ankle, and he’s someone who I would say is a very challenging candidate for treatment. He had originally bone marrow aspirate concentrate, utilizing his own stem cells from the bone. As well as platelet rich plasma to treat the ankle joint, and he’s done quite well actually in terms of pain relief and functional improvement. He’s had a 70% improvement in terms of pain. He’s been able to reduce his chronic anti-inflammatory medications. And he’s generally done very well. He’s someone who I would say was a very hard candidate for treatment, very challenging candidate, but because we’ve been able to help with all those other variables, improving stability, inflammation, alignment, and really optimizing the health of the joint, he’s had a good result. Someone where traditional treatment or traditional approach would say this is a challenging candidate because it’s bone on bone, but someone who because we’ve taken a comprehensive approach to treating it, and that means treating not only the joint that is damaged, treating the bone that is chronically swollen, treating the ligaments that are chronically lax and unstable, and treating even some of the nerves around the leg, and the ankle, and the lower back has given him better pain relief than he had expected, or that his imaging would really predict. And that’s really the key. Make sure you’ve got the right diagnosis, make sure you’ve got the right understanding of the severity. Make sure you’ve got the right comprehensive treatment approach, and make sure your goals of treatment are aligned with what the patient’s goals are. And if so, you can take somebody who still has bone on bone arthritis, and still give them a good result in the right cases. Great! Well, thank you for your time. Until next week, I hope everyone does well. As a reminder, we do this live event on Mondays and Wednesdays. This Wednesday is my live-live event, I may have a guest on with me, and we’ll have some conversations about some exercise and physical therapy related issues when it comes to arthritis, and issues related to the aging athlete. And I look forward to that conversation. Until then, have a good day and live well. Bye-bye!
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***About this video***
In this video Siddharth Tambar MD from Chicago Arthritis and Regenerative Medicine discusses whether regenerative treatments can help in bone on bone arthritis.