Brian’s Story: ‘Wow, This is Really Working!’

Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.

Brian Zoll’s knees got a lot of action throughout his childhood. He was a hockey player, runner, and weight lifter. After high school, Brian continued to run and also started power lifting.

“For about five years I would do a lot of squats and dead lifts weekly. I think that, combined with running, along with my intense sports in my childhood just kind of caused my cartilage to wear a little bit more quickly than a normal person's would,” Brian says.

In 2013, after Brian experienced intense knee pain while running the Flying Pig half marathon, he went to see Joseph Rubino, MD of Premier Orthopedics. Assessments, X-rays, and scopes were done on Brian’s knees, resulting in a diagnosis of chondromalacia patellae – also known as “runner's knee,” a condition where the cartilage on the undersurface of the patella (kneecap) deteriorates and softens. “I had Grade 3, which is fairly close to being bone-on-bone,” Brian says.

After trying several conservative treatments such as physical therapy, Dr. Rubino recommended that Brian consider Synvisc injections. These viscosupplement injections supplement the fluid in the knee to help lubricate and cushion the joint, providing up to six months of knee-pain relief with three injections.

These injections, given by Jeffrey A. James, DO, also of Premier Orthopedics, helped Brian. But there was still pain – bearable but still there. Dr. James then suggested Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections. A portion of the patient’s own blood that promotes healing is injected into injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints. Using PRP injections for knee problems is still relatively new.

“Dr. James explained it has been shown to be beneficial in patients with chondromalacia, patients with arthritis, patients with tendon issues or ligament problems,” says Brian.

Brian had a PRP injection in his right knee and when he experienced good results, in five weeks he had the other knee done. About a month later, he had round two of PRP.

“Every morning I wake up and go down the stairs in my house. Before I had the PRP injections, I would feel the pain every morning,” says Brian. “Your muscles are tight, so you really feel it. After the PRP injection, walking down the stairs, I had no pain. I thought, ‘Wow, this is really working.’”

Contact Us

Our sports medicine team is ready to help you get back in the game. Call the location nearest you to learn more about sports medicine services in your area.