How Elite CrossFitters are Using Stem Cell Therapy to Repair Injuries

An elite CrossFit competitor talks about how stem cell treatment kept him going without surgery.

Multiple meniscus tears, herniated discs, sciatica in the leg and ankle, shoulder injuries—Matt Chan has run the gamut when it comes to fitness-related injuries. However, as a professional and competitive CrossFit athlete, he was forced to endure long recovery times and the inability to return to full function, common with traditional surgeries and treatments. He needed a CrossFit injury recovery that would give him a competitive edge. Enter Regenexx and advanced interventional orthopedics.

CrossFit Athlete, Competitor and Professional Trainer

Matt is a seminar staff trainer for CrossFit, Inc. and he has participated in six CrossFit Games, taking second place (out of 175,000 participants) in the 2012 games. He spends a big part of his life training (for both professional and competitive purposes) in his 1,000-square-foot gym, located inside his garage on his property in Colorado. Prior to his injuries, he had the following to say about CrossFit:

"I found that not only did it make me feel good . . . but also my athletic prowess was unmatched by anything I'd ever done before. I saw what it did for my life. I felt physically more prepared for any and all activities somebody could throw at me. I looked at life like a challenge; you know, what should I get involved in next?"

Injuries Happen

With CrossFit, as with any highly competitive and intense fitness routine, injuries are likely to happen; and Matt has experienced a lot of them due to massive amounts of stress and fatigue on his body.

In 2012, after experiencing incredible knee pain, which hurt when he did almost anything, he had an MRI on his left knee. The diagnosis? Multiple microscopic tears in his meniscus. Though meniscus tears can be a normal part of aging, this wasn't the case for Matt. His were fitness injuries, and he knew he needed some sort of nonsurgical intervention to help him return to top form.

"It's important for me to keep all of my body's materials. I don't want to cut things," he said. "I don't want to clip things . . . clipping my meniscus was a bad option for me, because it was always going to limit my performance in the long run."

Matt needed a CrossFit recovery path that would allow him to outperform his competitors, who often opt for surgery and end up out for the season. He needed something that allowed him to keep training hard while he was being treated.

Meniscus Treatments Without Surgery

Matt's physical therapist recommended Regenexx when he discovered that Matt was a candidate for stem cell treatments that could treat his meniscus tears—and most importantly to Matt, he would be able to keep everything that his body naturally had. Nothing clipped, nothing removed. In Matt's profession, that was imperative.

Matt received the patented stem cell injections, using his own stem cells, to both of his knees, followed by PRP injections. He states in the video that after two months, his knees "felt like they were brand new again."

Herniated Disc Treatment Without Surgery

In 2014, Matt herniated three discs in his back and had sciatica in his left leg that ran all the way down to his ankle. He again sought out Regenexx, and this time he received fourth generation platelet lysate injections in his back. Within a month, his symptoms had abated, making him feel like a whole athlete again; and just a month following his treatments, he performed a 300-pound Power Clean and Jerk.

"I had my last treatment with Regenexx on January 20 and today's February 24," he said. "Just knowing that I haven't lost any ground with this stuff—you know, a 300-pound Power Clean and Jerk—it's really reassuring that I can go get treated, do a bit of rehab, and not lose much fitness."

Matt's statement that he hadn't lost any ground with Regenexx procedure is key. He was in the midst of training, and back surgery was out of the question. Even a stem cell injection in his disc would have caused him to lose ground on his quest for ultra-elite fitness.

Our doctors decided that the most minimally invasive thing we could do—an injection of our advanced 4th generation platelet lysate around his irritated nerves—was the way to go. This caused very little soreness and allowed Matt to be in the gym the next day. S

So if you wonder why Regenexx treats so many elite athletes, this is a great example of how our broad spectrum of regenerative treatments allows us to choose a therapy that best fits their rigorous training schedule. That doesn't happen at one-size-fits-all, magic stem cell clinics.

The upshot? We may not all be competitive and professional CrossFit trainers, but the fact that stem cells have such a powerful impact in a full-time fitness enthusiast speaks to the potential of stem cell treatments. In Matt's case, his recovery time was minimal, he was able to maintain his elite fitness and activity level, and he was able to accomplish it all without surgery.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: NEWS | CROSSFIT | KNEE INJURIES | BACK INJURIES | STEM CELLS