Why do ligaments heal poorly, and how will Prolotherapy help?
One of the reasons that we perform Prolotherapy at the bone-ligament junction is due to the fact that ligaments do not heal well on their own like muscles do. Ligaments have extremely poor blood flow. This results in very slow healing and recovery from ligament injuries, hence the need for treatments that stimulate healing. We recently came across an article from The Joint and Diseases Research Group at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada that outlined what we have been seeing at Caring Medical for years related to ligament injuries. The authors compiled these four attributes that effect the healing of ligament injuries.1
1. Combined injuries have poorer prognosis.
This statement has been discovered and rediscovered several times 2. It is one of the most commonly used when deciding the chances of an injured ligament healing in a timely fashion.
2. Different ligaments heal differently.
Not all ligaments heal at the same rate, or have the same potential for healing. The ACL in the knee is recognized as the ligament which takes the longest to heal, if it fully heals at all. If a person injures the ACL, the chances of more injuries and the eventual development of osteoarthritishave been published in many different studies. 3,4 In contrast to this, theMCL heals rather quickly, and has a better history for untreated injuries to be better than untreated ACL injuries. 5,6This could be for any number of reasons, but there are suggestions that the joint mechanics are more favorable to the MCL than the ACL.
3. Ligament healing is variable and unpredictable.
Since ligaments are so important to the mechanics of our body, the healing process is varied and unable to be planned. The doctor can make the assumption that the ligament will heal if the patient avoids x, y and z, but variables in the patient’s life that neither the doctor nor the patient can account for often exist. 5,6
4. Ligament healing is slow and can fail late in the process.
Early successes in the treatment of injured ligaments are common, but not to be trusted. Complete failure of the ligament has been reported even after it was supposedly repaired. This failure has been shown to be late in the healing process, happening any time from three to five years after the “repair”.
What does this all mean for Prolotherapy?
The fact is, someone who gets Prolotherapy for their ligament, tendon, or joint injury will not have to deal with the above four problems explained here. It does not matter if you have one injury or five; Prolotherapy is able to addressnearly every kind of ligament injury. Dr. Hauser can help your ACL and your MCL, and not worry about the chance of more injuries in the future. The healing stimulated by Prolotherapy is predictable. At Caring Medical, we do hundreds of treatments in very short amounts of time. We have seen complete healing in ligaments that have been failing the patient over and over again, for years. There is not a risk for chronic re-injury as there are for traditional treatments.
How is Prolotherapy different from traditional treatments?
Prolotherapy works with the body to stimulate its natural healing processes. Dr. Hauser injects a dextrose-based solution into the injured areas and this stimulates a mild inflammatory response at the injection site(s). Because the body heals by inflammation, it signals the body that healing needs to take place. The body believes that because of the inflammation, the body is re-injured. The body increases the blood flow to that area, and heals the weakened ligament by creating new collagen. When collagen matures, it shrinks. As it shrinks, it tightens the stretched ligaments, repairing the damage. This is not a temporary solution, nor is it a pain management solution. Prolotherapy can be a permanent solution to your pain.
If this sounds like a treatment that you or a loved one could benefit from, contact us at 708.848.7789 or in another way by clicking here. If you would like to make an appointment, click here.
- Bray, R.C., Frank, C.B., Shrive N.G. Ligament Healing a Review of Some Current Clinical and Experimental Concepts. The Iowa Orthopaedic Journal. Vol 12: 21-28.
- O’Donoghue, D.H.:Surgical Treatment of Fresh Injuries to the Major Ligaments of the Knee. J. Bone Joint Surg. 32A:721, 1950.
- Bray, R.C., Frank, C.B., Shrive N.G., et al.: Joint Instability Alters Scar Quantity and Quality in a Healing Rabbit Ligament. Orthop. Trans. 14:322, 1990.
- Fetto, J.F., Marchall, J.L., The Natural History and Diagnosis of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Insufficiency. Clin. Orthop. 147:29, 1980.
- Ellsasser, J.C., Reynolds, F.C., Omshundro, J.R.: The Non-operative Treatment of Collateral Ligaments of the Knee in Professional Football Players. J. Bone Joint Surg. 56A:1185, 1974.
- Hastings, D.E.: The Non-operative Management of Collateral Ligament Injuries of the Knee Joint. Clin. Orthop. 147:22, 1980.