Looking Forward to the Sports Injury Revolution
When I was 16, I dislocated my elbow. The ensuing re-injuries and calcification of the ligaments ended my competitive wrestling career. Last year, I separated my shoulder and while it’s pretty well healed, it’s going to have some annoying weaknesses the rest of my life.
I’m not the only one. Most of the people I know who have been reasonably active through age 40 have some sort of permanent impairment from a ligament, cartilage, or tendon injury. Today, I was wondering if extracellular matrix (ECM) might be the answer.
ECM has been used to promote wound and burn healing. I figured a little Googling was worthwhile. Imagine my surprise when I found out that verterinarians have off-the-shelf ECM products to heal horse ligament and tendon injuries.
Moreover, I was flabbergasted to find a book on the subject of ECM based scaffolds for repairing orthopedic soft tissues. Unfortunately, all the relevant journal articles are behind paywalls. But this seems to be a rapidly advancing area.
Together with stem cell advances, this could change the game for us 40-year olds. We could be assured of fully functioning joints for a long time.