AS a TV presenter used to working in harsh environments - and the father of an active four-year-old and lively twins – Steve Backshall did not need severe knee pain in his life.

“I have a life where I need to be making the first ascents of mountains in the middle of nowhere,” he explains. “And then fatherhood, you know - every element of that is physical too.  “Wouldn’t it be awful if I look back in 10 to 15 years’ time and say ‘I never ran around playing rugby with the little boy because I had this ache in my knee' and it could have been solved?”

For Steve, the solution is Zimmer Biomet’s nSTRIDE APS, an autologous – from within your own body – protein solution treatment designed to target the joint pain associated with knee osteoarthritis.

According to the NHS, osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting more than 10 million people, with many adults developing the condition in their mid-40s and older. The new treatment, which aims to eliminate pain in one dose, is made from high levels of ‘good proteins’ concentrated from the patient's blood, and not steroids. 

"For a lot of time when my knee was at its worst, I’d be avoiding all of those things that give life its zest, and after I had nSTRIDE, I was just back being me again,” says Backshall.


Above,  TV presenter Steve Backshall


"I was suffering from osteoarthritis and originally I just avoided dealing with it. The nSTRIDE APS treatment was appealing because it had so many elements that seemed to fit with my ethos of how I want to try and fix myself."

The treatment involves a small injection into the knee joint of ‘good proteins’, which can block ‘bad proteins’ responsible for inflammation. In addition to reducing pain and stiffness, the treatment can restore mobility and function and potentially help slow the destruction of cartilage.

For Steve Backshall, the benefits of one injection lasted for around 18 months. Clinical studies suggest some people can benefit for up to between 24 and 36 months.

More recently collected data has shown others can have pain relief for up to five years. Nuffield Health Glasgow Hospital, part of the UK’s largest healthcare charity, is the first independent hospital in Scotland to offer the treatment.

Jennifer Woodell-May, Research Director, Zimmer Biomet says that clinical studies have shown a noticeable improvement in knee pain for some patients.

“It is a simple treatment – blood is drawn from a vein in the arm and white blood cells and a small amount of plasma are harvested from this sample,” she explains. “The blood is then processed to make high concentrations of anti-inflammatory proteins and these proteins are then injected into the affected area.”

The treatment is performed in an outpatient clinic and takes approximately 30 minutes. After four to five days, patients can expect a small reduction in swelling, stiffness and pain.


A significant reduction in pain may take up to 12 weeks to occur, but most patients notice a difference in around four to eight weeks.

A personalised patient care plan for patients on the nSTRIDE treatment pathway will include access to the Nuffield Glasgow Hospital’s joint pain rehabilitation programme, physiotherapy and follow-up with a specialist consultant.

Julie Campbell, Hospital Director at Nuffield Health Glasgow Hospital says: “People who are not suitable for knee surgery, but whose lifestyle is severely impacted by osteoarthritis may benefit from this new treatment and personalised care plan which connects to our rehabilitation services. It is fantastic news that Nuffield Health Glasgow Hospital is the first hospital in Scotland to offer this treatment and I am delighted that the multidisciplinary team have worked together to launch this new outpatient service.”

The treatment is performed by Mr Stuart Bell and Mr Jibu John Joseph, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons. Mr Joseph said: “For many years patients with mild-to-moderate osteoarthritis have had to suffer from pain and restriction without the possibility of a suitable treatment.

"This is a treatment that utilises your own blood to generate a sample of anti-inflammatory proteins and growth factors that helps restore the balance between cartilage generation and degeneration within your joint."