Ligaments attach bone to bone and are responsible for providing joint stability and protection. Therefore strained ligaments leave muscles and joints weak and unprotected, causing muscle spasms and instability.
Strengthening ligaments in the lower limb (e.g sprained ankles) and many other injuries, has been the primary goal of prolotherapy treatment for years.
There are over 60 research reports published in medical journals showing that the technique is more effective than most other treatments for these problems.
Mobility has also been shown to increase with this type of treatment. This is because stiffness is often due to protective muscle spasms, and once the pain from the ligaments is relieved the muscles relax.
Tendons attach muscles to bone and when overused they become painful and occasionally fail to heal due to excess of a specific growth factor VEGF.
The thick or torn tissue is seen on diagnostic ultrasound, with modern techniques, also showing neovessels around the tendon. These neovessels have nerves alongside them which are very painful.
The usual treatment for tendinopathy in knees and ankles (i.e the Achilles tendon) is managing training loads and strengthening exercise, which can take months. Prolotherapy treatment allows the healing to occur much quicker as the glucose in the prolotherapy solution inhibits VEGF.
Pain can be due to direct injury to the nerves. If there is damage or restrictions of the nerve fibres this will reduce the flow down of nutrients, necessary to repair the trunk of the nerve, causing it to become painful and tender all along the nerve.
Inflammation in the nerve (neurogenic inflammation) also causes inflammation in the soft tissues and joints, preventing healing. The glucose in the prolotherapy injections allows healing in the nerve itself and the tissues it supplies.
The development of this technique was by Dr John Lyftogtin NZ. It uses very fine short needles to treat the cutaneous nerves that are very close to the skin.
Ligaments are vital for joint stability and protection. If strained and loose, the joint moves out of the track it was designed to follow, and the cartilage becomes worn causing osteoarthritis and associated pain.
Prolotherapy for worn joints (knees, ankles) involves treatment of the ligaments around the joint and usually injection into the joint, as it also stimulates regrowth of cartilage. This has been seen on X-ray in some knees.