Kellie K. Middleton, MD

How Is Damaged Cartilage Repaired?

Feb 13, 2024
misc image
We’re not salamanders. If we lose a body part, it doesn’t regenerate on its own. So what happens when the cartilage in your joints is damaged by arthritis or trauma? Regenerative therapies may help repair the injured tissue.

The most common form of arthritis — osteoarthritis — currently affects about 31 million women, men, and kids in the United States. You have about a 45% lifetime risk of developing arthritis. 

Although osteoarthritis is due to wear-and-tear and is usually associated with aging, you can develop arthritis at any age. In addition to autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis, trauma can damage a joint or degrade cartilage, leading to the stiff, swollen, and painful joints of arthritis.

Kellie K. Middleton, MD, an orthopedic expert in Lawrenceville, Georgia, is dedicated to healing the source of pain whenever possible. That’s why she and our team may recommend regenerative therapies to help repair damaged cartilage and other tissues.

How do we help your body repair damaged cartilage? The following is a brief guide.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been used for decades by athletes to speed recovery. Top pros like Tiger Woods use PRP to repair potentially career-ending injuries. However, PRP has a longer history in medical use, stretching back about 70 years.

One of the benefits of PRP is that it’s made from your own blood, so it can’t be rejected or cause side effects. We draw a small amount of blood from your arm, then spin it in a centrifuge to create a concentrated serum with 10 times the number of growth factors usually found in the blood. 

The concentrated platelets, rich with proteins and growth factors, help your body heal damaged tissue, including cartilage. The PRP stimulates collagen production, a protein matrix that keeps skin and other tissue plump with moisture, strong, and resilient.

You may notice increased comfort and mobility due to your PRP treatment within several weeks after your treatment. You may benefit from annual touch-ups to maintain your results. 

ReNu® injections

ReNu is an amniotic suspension allograft (ASA) that’s been frozen. ReNu is made of donated amniotic fluid cells and a micronized amniotic membrane. It contains cellular, growth factor, and extracellular matrix components that help your body repair damaged tissue.

Injections of ReNu are used to alleviate the pain and stiffness of knee arthritis. Studies have shown that it’s more effective than hyaluronic acid at alleviating pain and stiffness.

We inject the suspension directly into the affected joint. Relief should last for up to a year after injection.

As with PRP, Renu works with your body’s healing system to repair damaged cartilage. You may need a series of treatments to attain and maintain your goal. 

Lifestyle changes

In addition to providing regenerative therapies that help your body repair damaged cartilage, we recommend eating a whole-food diet filled with vitamins and antioxidants that support repair and subdue inflammation. We also advise that you stay hydrated, avoid processed foods and alcohol, and don’t smoke.

In addition, we recommend regular exercise, particularly exercises that strengthen and support your arthritic joints. Movement helps alleviate stiffness and pain by stimulating the release of a lubricant in your joint tissue called synovial fluid. 

Taken together, lifestyle changes and regenerative therapies work synergistically. They help your body heal the cause of pain. With time, you should be able to wean off other medications or at least lower the dose.

Do you want to help your body repair damaged cartilage so you can move freely and comfortably again? Contact our knowledgeable team by phone or the online form for regenerative therapies today.