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AFL legend avoids knee replacement using innovative treatment

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 30/01/2018 Madeline Slattery

Osteoarthritis affects one in 11 Australians, and while many resort to joint replacements, a former AFL star has avoided the drastic measure.

Dual Brownlow medallist, Greg Williams, has been living with a dodgy knee since his playing days in the 90’s.

Despite ten arthroscopes, his arthritis wasn’t going away – until he took a treatment called Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium (PPS).

He claims the injectable drug – taken twice a week, over four weeks -  has worked wonders – so much so, he’ll no longer need a knee replacement.

“My knee’s so much better. It’s 80 – 90 percent less sore, so the pain is so much better. I walk freely,” Williams said.

The company behind PPS said 40 sportspeople have been treated, who on average saw a fifty percent reduction in their pain scores.

But those at the Australasian College of Sports and Exercise Physicians are sceptical.

“We know if you reduce your body weight by ten percent, you can reduce your pain scores by fifty percent. So we need to consider, is that also happening in these people?” principal Adam Castricum said.

Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals is sponsoring current trials, with results to be released by the end of the year.

At the moment that’s the main way patients can access the drug.

However, doctors wanting to use the treatment can apply to the TGA for special access.

“It would be important if there was then an independent randomised control done by another body, to see if they could then reproduce the same results,” Mr Castricum said.

He added that before resorting to expensive treatments, arthritis sufferers should first aim to focus on weight loss and stay active with low impact exercise.

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