Prolotherapy for Athletes can Decrease Recovery Time and Injury Recurrence
If you lead an active lifestyle, chances are you’ve suffered some form of sprain or strain in your
career. And if you’ve sought treatment for these injuries, you’ve probably been told your tendons or ligament are permanently weakened and you’re facing a high likelihood of injury recurrence. But there’s actually a cost-efficient, non-invasive treatment that will help you recover from this type of injury.
Prolotherapy treatment can actually tighten up connective tissue that have become lax or strained and strengthen it, reducing the likelihood of injury recurrence. Continue reading below to see how prolotherapy treatment can help you recover from this unique type of injury.
What are tendons and ligaments?
One of the main structures that stabilize our joints in the body are ligaments. These are strong bands of connective tissue and connect one bone to another. Think about your knee. In order to keep your thigh on top of your leg and prevent it from sliding to either side, you have your collateral ligaments. One on the inside of your knee, your medial collateral ligament, and one of the outside of your knee, your lateral collateral ligament. Together they help stabilize your knee and keep it moving correctly. These structure can get stressed or strained during athletic activities though. We see this all the time in football, soccer, lacrosse and other impact sports. A player will take a blow to the thigh or leg and that will strain or stretch these structures.
Tendons are another type of connective tissue that have a very similar role. Only instead of attaching two bones together, tendons connect muscles to bone and allow for movement of a joint. These include your Achilles tendon, patellar tendon, and rotator cuff attachments. The most common injury to a tendon is an ankle sprain, or a rolled ankle. You step on even ground, have a sudden change of direction, or an impact to the lower leg and the muscles used to stabilize your ankle pull on those attachments causing them to partially, or in some cases completely tear. Typically these type of injuries will damage both the tendons and the ligaments.
Why don’t tendons and ligaments heal at the same rate as other injuries?
Generally, because tendons and ligaments do not have a good blood supply, it takes them a long time to heal, even longer than broken bones. In fact, it is not uncommon that athletes are told that once a tendon or ligament it strained there is nothing to do about it other than to try on overcompensate for the injury by strengthening the muscles around the joint, or have surgery.
How does Prolotherapy help?
Prolotherapy uses a simple sugar solution, usually Dextrose, to cause an inflammatory response to the area to get the body to heal damaged tendons and ligaments. This triggers a response that can tighten up connective tissue that have become lax, or strained and strengthen it so that there is less likely a reoccurrence of the same injury.
Most providers will add things to the solution to boost the healing process. At DenverAcupuncture & Sports Medicine, we enhance the dextrose solution by adding collagen (one of the building blocks of connective tissue), a little bit of B12 for proper nerve function, and a homeopathic formulation specifically designed to heal tendons and ligaments. This carefully constructed solution speeds efficiency of the procedure and can have faster results in a shorter amount of time.
What to expect from Prolotherapy Treatment
It’s important to note Prolotherapy treatment will only work with Grade I and Grade II sprains or strains. If it is a complete tear, it will need to be surgically reattached. Most patients require three treatment sessions with a period of 3-4 weeks between treatments to give the tendons and ligaments time to heal and assess their progress. Many patients and providers choose to incorporate acupuncture or dry needling during this time to enhance the effects. Finally, because prolotherapy causes an inflammatory response, you cannot use NSAIDs like ibuprofen for 3 days after your treatments. There is likely a dull achiness that will follow your treatment which is an indication the treatments are having the desired effect.
Of course, every treatment plan is customized to the individual and their injury. If you’re ready to find out if Prolotherapy is right for you, contact us at Scott@DenverSportsACU.com or book an appointment.