For many women, knee pain is a daily occurrence. Thanks to arthritis or just wear and tear due to aging, the cartilage cushioning the joints in our knees gets worn out. When that happens, the bones grind against each other, causing pain--and less mobility. And while supplements or cortisone shots can relieve the pain, more often people must have surgery to replace entire knee cap with plastic and metal parts.
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Now there's a new treatment on the horizon that may make this costly (and painful) surgery obsolete. Researchers from Great Britain and Italy have found a way to print out 3D versions of a bio-glass material that mimics cartilage. While bio-glass has been used for over 50 years to heal bones, the researchers came up with a way to make it more flexible. Once the bio-glass is implanted into the knee joint, it can encourage the growth of new cartilage cells.
So far the bio-glass has only been tested in the lab, but the team of researchers is hoping to make it available to actual people in the next few years. And because it promotes the regrowth of your own tissue to fix the pain, the side effects of surgery--the wearing out of the parts, the stiffness, and the risk of infection--will be a thing of the past.
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