Growth Factors for Arthritis

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Image Credits: Slideshare 

“Give a man health and a course to steer, and he’ll never stop to trouble about whether he’s happy or not.”- George Bernard Shaw

Arthritis, is a condition that can be potentially debilitating. As a patient, you probably have realized that not all arthritis treatments are the same! You have probably tried everything under the sun, from the over the counter treatments to even the point at which you are considering surgery as an alternative to healing your persistent pain. Once you start your treatments, you realize that how you feel varies per day. You have your highs, and then you have your lows. If your pain point is high enough, you’ll be better able, with the help of your orthopaedic surgeon to find a path that will result in the best restorative treatment. Thankfully there are evolving technologies like growth factor treatments that will help your body to self heal. Under Australian policy, you will be compensated for this treatment, so you won’t have to worry about financing. 

What exactly is a Growth Factor Treatment? 

Growth Factor Treatments fall into the category of protein therapies, which help the body to naturally heal itself. As you can see from the image above, the growth factor is a  protein molecule that operates via a lock and key mechanism, to facilitate the healing process. From the study of the human body, over time with arthritis, an individual can lose their cartilage and bone due to the degenerative condition. With the evolution of therapies, it is now becoming increasingly possible to facilitate the restoration of both the bone and cartilage that was lost due to osteoarthritis. With aging populations globally, the incidence of osteoarthritis is on the rise, and the challenge in the treatments that currently exist is in the regeneration of the joint tissue that provides motion and flexibility to the hinge joint that is your ankle. 

Via growth factor treatments, the special proteins or “growth factors” that are suited for therapeutic properties are administered to the healing site. These proteins are suited for tissue repair and regeneration and supplied via platelet rich plasma. The growth factors are multi-functional, with some elements having specific functions that will enhance cartilage regeneration. In terms of their scientifically identified focuses, there are elements such as PDGF which helps with collagen regeneration and EGF that facilitates cellular proliferation. 

The specific healing properties have been identified, which helps to determine their applications in your therapy. Scientific studies began in the knees, and have also been applied to ankle joints as well. The success of treatments have shown that there is a decrease in pain, increase in range of motion and joint function in the treated patients. 

When is the best time to approach your Doctor about Growth Factors Treatments?

There is no best time to approach your doctor, but if you feel that you’ve reached a point where you want to try new therapies, either in the early stages of your therapy, or if you feel your current therapy isn’t sufficient, organize to discuss the evolving technology with your orthopaedic surgeon. Your doctor will then identify the series of PRP intra-articular injections as part of your treatment plan. These can be administered either as a treatment plan on their own, or alternately as a combination with surgical procedures such as microfractures. As an evolving technology, the treatment is evolving in the right direction. Allowing your body to self-heal is a path that is worth considering. 

Reference Articles: 

  1. Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190219143510.htm

  2. Growth Factors in the treatment of Osteoarthritis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3710006/

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