stem cells for skiers

Stem Cell Therapy for Skiers: the Definitive Guide

Scott Brandt, M.D. Knee Replacement Alternative, PRP, Research, Stem Cell Therapy, Stem Cells for Back Pain, Stem Cells for Facet Joints, Stem Cells for Hip, Stem Cells for Joint & Soft Tissue Pain, Stem Cells for Knee, Stem Cells for Low Back, Stem Cells for Neck Pain

Colorado has over 20 ski resorts spread throughout the state and is home to one of the longest ski seasons in the country. The longer the ski season, the greater chances there are for injury. To help treat both acute and chronic injuries, we provide stem cell therapy for skiers in both our Vail and Denver clinics. The stem cell treatments for joint injuries and low back pain have been an effective treatment to allow patients to quickly return to skiing and other activities they love.

Like you, we have a passion for skiing and understand that you want to stay active for many years to come. To help you do so, we put together this comprehensive guide. Read on to learn about the regenerative potential of stem cells to help heal acute injuries and chronic orthopedic conditions typically associated with skiers.

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Contact our Vail or Denver office to find out if you could be a candidate for stem cell therapy.

Most Common Ski Injuries and Conditions

Aging athletes, especially skiers, often suffer from progressively worsening pain and arthritis from degenerative joint disease in knees, hips and the lumbar spine. This is a very passionate group of people who want to remain active for as long as possible in order to be able to continue to enjoy their favorite pastime. These are patients that frequently benefit from stem cell therapy to their affected joints or discs. There are few sports that put more stress, pressure, and wear and tear on lower extremity joints and lumbar discs than skiing.

Knee injuries make up 30-40% of all ski injuries. This is simply due to the nature of skiing – the body position, speed and quick changes in direction. One of the most common acute knee injuries that we see in our offices due to skiing is a partial tear in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This is important for women to note, as ACL tears in women are ten times more likely than in men. Chronic conditions due to skiing are also very common, for example knee cartilage loss due to years of impact.

Many skiers experience chronic back pain as they age. These conditions include degenerative disc disease, facet joint syndrome, and whiplash.

stem cell therapy to avoid knee replacement

Patient uses stem cell injections to avoid knee and back surgery and return to skiing. – Patient Testimonial

Individual patient results may vary. Please contact us today to find out if stem cell therapy may be able to help you.

How Skiers Can Minimize Their Risk of Injury

Using stem cells early in the degenerative process can also prevent degeneration from progressing and may help avoid knee or back surgery.
There are a number of preventative measures that skiers can do to try to slow the degenerative process. By staying fit and limber the muscles that support the joints and low back work to protect the vulnerable areas from impact, which helps  minimize the risk of injury. Choosing to avoid hard packed and icy conditions can also lower the risk of injury.

Making the decision to take advantage of the regenerative properties of stem cell therapies early in the degenerative process can also prevent degeneration from progressing to critical levels and may help avoid invasive knee surgery or back surgery.

Skiers Avoid Knee, Hip & Back Surgery with Stem Cells

Skiers with knee injuries are often told that surgery is required and the ski season is over. Similarly, skiers with severe back pain are often forced to limit their number of ski days. Yet, depending on the injury, undergoing surgery or avoiding skiing for the rest of one’s life may not have to be the answer. Recovery may be much faster than you may think.

Many skiers who have visited our Colorado facilities were able to avoid knee replacement or other invasive surgery, and return to skiing by treating their knee injury with stem cell therapy instead. In a similar fashion, we have had success with helping skiers and other patients find an alternative to spinal fusion and other invasive back surgery. A consultation with an experienced stem cell doctor will help determine if you’re a good candidate for stem cell treatment.

stem cells for ski injuries

Research studies support our own experience with using stem cells as a joint or back surgery alternative. Learn more from scientific publications on stem cells for articular cartilage regeneration, osteoarthritis in the knee, discogenic back pain, or intervertebral disc regeneration.

There are a few key advantages of stem cell therapy over invasive surgery, these include:

  • No risk of rejection – we use your own biological material
  • Minimally invasive character – the out-patient procedure can be performed in approximately 3 hours using only mild oral medication and IV sedation
  • No communicable disease transmission – as the cells are your own
  • Speedy recovery time – stem cell patients may return to work in a couple of days

What Makes for Successful Stem Cell Procedures

We follow a set of best practices that give stem cell treatments for skiers a higher potential for success. First, in order to maximize the number of cells and growth factors available for treatment, a combination of fat-derived stem cells and bone marrow are harvested and prepared for the procedure. Second, having a skilled and experienced physician performing your procedure is key. Third, to assure that the cells are placed perfectly in the damaged joint or disc, live x-ray guidance is used during the injection. The combination of excellent tissue harvest and cell preparation, combined with optimal image-guided injections and extensive physician experience, dramatically improves outcomes.

Steps of a Stem Cell Procedure

During the initial consultation, the patient undergoes a history and physical examination as well as a full review of their imaging studies. Once it is determined that the patient is a good candidate for treatment, a procedure date can be scheduled.

The stem cell procedure is completed in approximately 3 hours. During this time, we will harvest the stem cells, separate and concentrate the necessary biologics and perform the stem cell injection. Stem cell therapy is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed in an outpatient setting and does not require a general anesthetic. Pain and discomfort are minimal and patients typically can return to work within a couple of days.

We believe that recovery from skiing related injuries and chronic conditions is best achieved by using a combination of these biologics: adipose (fat) derived stem cells, bone marrow-derived stem cells, and platelet rich plasma (PRP). All of these components are harvested from the patient during the procedure time. They work together to help repair the damaged tissue.

Recovery & Return to Skiing after a Stem Cell Procedure

After a stem cell procedure, patients walk out of our office without assistance. There is minimal discomfort post-procedure and patients do not require braces or crutches. Patients typically begin to see improvement in the first four to twelve weeks. Our patients often experience decreased inflammation, pain reduction and an increase in mobility and function.

Decreased inflammation, pain reduction and an increase in mobility and function.

Individual patient results may vary. Contact us today to find out if stem cell therapy may be able to help you.

patient testimonial stem cells for knee acl

Patient treated in Vail, Colorado, talks about his experience with using stem cells to heal a partial tear in his ACL and save the ski season.

Stem Cell Case Studies about Skier Patients

avoiding knee replacement skier case study

Patient from Denver Uses Stem Cells to Avoid Knee Replacement, Returns to Skiing

Former competitive tennis player and skier, with degeneration of soft tissue and arthritic changes in the knee, uses stem cell injections as an alternative to knee replacement surgery. Returns to golf and skiing.*

Read the knee pain case by Dr. Brandt

back surgery alternative for skiers

Patient from Vail Uses Stem Cells to Heal Degenerative Discs, Returns to Golf & Skiing

Active resident of Vail turns to stem cell therapy to relieve low central back pain. Notes dramatic improvement in pain levels, flexibility, comfort.*

Read the back pain patient case by Dr. Brandt

achilles tendon repair for skiers with stem cells

Patient From Chicago Uses Stem Cell Therapy to Treat Achilles Tendon, Returns to Skiing & Cycling

Lisa is a 52-year marketing executive who had been suffering with Achilles tendon pain. Notes dramatic improvement in pain levels, returned to skiing in 6 months.*

Read the Achilles tendon patient case by Dr. Brandt

Stem Cell Reviews by Skiers

A great way to learn about what stem cells may be able to do for your skiing is to read through authentic reviews. Our patients commonly leave us online reviews about stem cells for knees, hips and other joints, as well as about stem cells for back pain.

More Skiing, No Icing

Stem Cells for Knees
“I just wanted to give an update regarding the stem cell procedure performed by Dr. Brandt at Thrive about 3 years ago. My range of motion continues to improve–remarkable at 64.I skied 150k in 5 days last week and never iced my knee once. I can’t remember skiing that many feet w/out having to ice in the last 20 years. The knee treated has been without an acl since I was 18 and is pretty severely arthritic,but I am getting better performance now than I have in recent memory. Thank you, Dr. Brandt!!”*

Posted on Google reviewsJohn from Boulder, CO, Google Reviews, January 2017

Lower Back as Good as New for the Ski Season in Vail, CO

Stem Cells for Lumbar Discs

“Dr. Brandt is a pioneer in this promising field and we are fortunate to have him in the Vail Valley. I believe the discs in my lower back will be as good as new by the 2015 ski season based on my three month recovery since having two rounds of stem cell injections in June.”*Steve from Denver, Colorado, email, September 2014

*Individual patient results may vary. Contact us today to find out if stem cell therapy may be able to help you.

Next Step

If pain is preventing you or someone you care about from enjoying skiing, contact us today to find out if you are a candidate for a stem cell procedure.

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Linda Gerrans
Linda Gerrans
19:37 14 Dec 17
When I was told by an orthopedic doctor I needed double knee replacement I chose stem cell therapy instead. Stem cell therapy has helped me get through my days without the pain I was experiencing and enjoy the activities I was unable to because of the pain.
John Beeman
John Beeman
23:05 08 Jan 17
I just wanted to give an update regarding the stem cell procedure performed by Dr. Brandt at Thrive about 3 years ago. My range of motion continues to improve--remarkable at 64.I skied 150k in 5 days last week and never iced my knee once. I can't remember skiing that many feet w/out having to ice in the last 20 years. The knee treated has been without an acl since I was 18 and is pretty severely arthritic,but I am getting better performance now than I have in recent memory. Thank you, Dr. Brandt!!
Lisa Harris
Lisa Harris
15:59 02 Jan 17
After struggling with an Achilles injury for 1 1/2 years and trying everything to heal it - steroid, physical therapy, wearing a boot, no activity, stretching, etc - I decided to have stem cell therapy at It was a short procedure and an afternoon of post op recovery, which after 6-8 weeks, resulted in a full recovery from my injury. This seemed to finally stimulate blood flow and healing to an injury I had resigned myself to having forever. I highly recommend this procedure for tendon injuries like this one.
Zvezdomir Zamfirov
Zvezdomir Zamfirov
03:55 14 Nov 16
I am a pain management physician myself. I am 52, and physically very active. I still play soccer competitively. Six months ago I suffered a hip injury with a labrum tear. Due to the pre-existing wear and tear, the only conventional treatment, which was offered to me was total hip replacement. I wanted to remain physically active and continue to play sports, so I decided that this is not the best option for me. I choose instead to try stem-cell therapy. Ten days ago I had my procedure done by Dr. Brandt, and since then I have nothing but positive things to say about him and his practice. Everyone in his office was extremely welcoming and put me at ease and comfort about my procedure. The procedure went very smooth. And I did not have ANY post procedure pain or discomfort. I had no need for any pain medication. I was back to work seeing patients on the 2nd day after the procedure. My hip already feels noticeably better. I have the second procedure scheduled in four weeks, and I am confident that in another 3-4 weeks I'll be back playing soccer again. Thank you, Dr. Brandt and team for taking such excellent care of me.
John Reilly
John Reilly
13:44 04 Nov 16
I saw Dr Brandt on 8/8/16 for a lower back stem cell injection. From the injection, I got a serious infection in my lower spine. As a result, I spent 2 days in the Vail hospital and have been on daily IV antibiotics for the past 8 weeks. A few weeks after the injection, I started feeling increased pain which was a different pain than before my injection. It was much sharper and a shooting pain. I communicated this information to Dr Brandt and his staff. There only response and treatment was stronger pain meds. oral and injected steroids (the worst thing to do when an infection is present). The pain became so intense and debilitating, I finally made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. Their team quickly discovered from listening to my symptoms and reviewing a new MRI that I had an infection. I also discovered from a search on DORA that over the past 13 years Dr Brandt's has a history of incidents with the DORA which regulates medical professionals. Over this time, his license was suspended for a period of time and is he currently practicing on probation through 2019. At one point, the AG said he was unfit to practice medicine.
Laurel Wilkerson
Laurel Wilkerson
21:22 08 Aug 16
Great job by the Thrive MD team in Edwards. With a torn achilles tendon, I was really opposed to surgery. When I discovered Dr. Brandt and team, I was thrilled. They are most professional and explained every step of the process and procedure for treatment options. I am on the road to recovery, and I am so thankful to have discovered Thrive. Before you let an orthopedic doc operate, take the time to explore and discuss stem cell therapy. Thrive MD made the process easy and convenient. Thanks! One year later update - ankle is doing great. Skied 52 days in 2015-16. Hiking, biking and all are no problem. Great team of caring people who know their business.
Brad Jones
Brad Jones
00:27 19 Feb 16
Dr. Brandt and his entire staff are amazing! Early in the ski season I had a partial tear in my ACL and thought I would be out until the next year for sure. However after consulting with Thrive MD they informed me that I was a good candidate for stem cell therapy. I went through the procedure and went from barely being able to walk with crutches to walking comfortably and normally within three weeks! I was back at work quickly and just got back on the mountain recently. My knee feels very solid and I have ZERO issues with it. Thank you Thrive MD for saving my ski season!
Karen Taylor
Karen Taylor
02:10 09 Dec 15
I am so happy to have found Thrive this past summer. After being told by 3 Dr's that I need a knee replacement I was feeling very discouraged. 2 1/2 years ago I had a very bad skiing accident and destroyed my tibial plateau. After surgery and physical therapy I was no where near where I wanted to be functioning physically. I couldn't hike, ski, or basically do anything active without constant pain. I went to Thrive and got my hormones balanced, got my energy level back up to where I like it to be and had several stem cell treatments on my knee. It was not an instant fix, but over the past 6 months it has continually started to feel better. I just skied 3 hard days in a row in Beaver Creek, with no swelling and very little pain! I am back to functioning at about 80% of my capacity. I'm thrilled with the progress and hope to continue to improve as I continue to be active this winter. I am so happy not to have a knee replacement and to be able to keep my own knee. Thank you Dr. Brandt.
Sylvia Baldwin
Sylvia Baldwin
00:00 26 Apr 15
Dr. Brandt is the best! I've been seeing him altogether for around 15 years now for corticosteroid injections for pain and would never want to see anyone else. He is very skilled with the needle and getting the injections done in exactly the right places. In addition, I've found Dr. Brandt to be a very concerned and caring individual; he's a great listener who clearly gives a lot of thought to what the best approach is going to be in dealing with the situation the patient describes. I've found that he always takes as much time as necessary to assess the situation; dealing with Dr. Brandt is such an entirely different experience than virtually every other meeting I've had with various surgeons and other M.D.'s. His staff is also very friendly, helpful and kind--as I said, he's the best...and well worth the drive to Edwards!
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