Local orthopaedic doctors are using a new stem cell technology, which has been successfully used to speed the recovery of superstar athletes like Rafael Nadal and Peyton Manning, on weekend athletes which suffer from a wide range of relatively common ailments, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

  Dr. Christian Balldin at the San Antonio Orthopaedic Group says the stem cells help the body recovery more quickly from a range of aches and pains.

  "We are starting to apply it in a multitude of areas, including sports injuries, whether it be into actual joints, or to allow for a quicker recovery of ligament sprains and also for low back pain," he said.

  Current FDA policy, due to ethical concerns about stem cell use, only allow stem cells harvested from the patient to be injected directly into the site of the injury.

  "Take that with a big syringe and we actually thin it down to get the proper concentration of the stem cells, in addition to all of the growth factors that are in the bone marrow, and then we inject them into the area of interest."

  Some athletes have traveled to other countries where different types of stem cells in different mixtures can be used.  Dr. Balldin says they usually take stem cells from the bone marrow of the patient.

  He says stem cells prompt growth, and because they can rejuvenate muscles and ligaments, they help speed the recovery.  Dr. Balldin says they only work following a successful surgical procedure, the stem cells themselves cannot cure tears and breaks.

  But he says there are indications that this therapy can be successful on many sorts of routine injuries which are suffered by weekend warriors who are not Rafael Nadal or Peyton Manning.

  "Early arthritic conditions of a knee or a hip," he said.  "Also, from my perspective, it is also useful in recovery from common sports injuries, including rotator cuff injuries and tennis elbow."