SEATTLE - Running is what keeps 77-year-old Marty Ciesielczyk feeling young.
"For me, it's just enjoyable, and if you're not a runner, then you would have no idea what I'm talking about," Ciesielczyk said.
But Ciesielczyk's active lifestyle was in jeopardy when knee pain took over.
"When you got to lay on the floor to get dressed, it's tough," Ciesielczyk explained.
Ciesielczyk had arthritis. It happens when there's a loss of cartilage in the joint.
"It's like a tire, and as you slowly lose rubber on the tire, it wears away," said Dr. Adam Yanke, an orthopedic surgeon at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush. "You might need to have the tire replaced at some point."
Ciesielczyk's arthritis was too advanced for a scope procedure, but not bad enough for a joint replacement. So, he enrolled in a study testing whether amniotic fluid, which surrounds a growing baby in the uterus, could help his pain.
"Amniotic products come from patients that are having healthy, elective c-sections, and they choose to donate these products at the time of the delivery," Yanke said.
The fluid is injected directly into the knee. It's thought to increase tissue healing and lower inflammation. Ciesielczyk received a placebo during the study, but then chose to have the amniotic fluid when it ended.
"I mean, I didn't care if it was pixie dust, as long as my knee was going to feel better," Ciesielczyk said.
He went from not being able to get dressed to jogging about a week after having the injection.
"This morning, I ran three, three miles, and I had no problem at all," Ciesielczyk said.
And he doesn't plan on slowing down any time soon.
Amniotic fluid is also being used to treat ulcers in the eye.
Rush University will be enrolling patients for a larger follow-up study on amniotic fluid for joint pain in the future.