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Prolotherapy is also known as "proliferation therapy" or "regenerative injection therapy." ("Proliferative Injection Therapy") involves injecting an otherwise non-pharmacological and non-active irritant solution into the body, generally in the region of tendons or ligaments for the purpose of strengthening weakened connective tissue and alleviating musculoskeletal pain.

You will probably not have heard of the injection name before but it has been used in America since the 1930’s. In the UK some medical doctors in the British Institute of Musculoskeketal Medicine ( BIMM ) now use it to treat all kinds of joints in the body, including the spine. Prolotherapy use in the Podiatry field is for the knee and the lower limb including the ankle, foot and toes.

Prolotherapy is helpful for what conditions?

The treatment is useful for many different types of musculoskeletal pain, including Arthritis, Achilles tendonosis, sprained ankle ligaments and virtually any lower limb ligament or tendon which is painful.

How will the prolotherapy procedure be carried out?

At a treatment you can expect a detailed examination and discussion to enable your specialist to ascertain whether prolotherapy is suitable for you. If you and your clinician feel happy to go ahead your podiatrist will decide what substances to use.

For the treatment itself your clinician may anesthetise the area by giving small injection of local anaesthetic just under the skin with a very fine needle, or with a topical analgesia. After the skin is frozen your clinician will inject the chosen substance into the area of pain through the numb area. Most people say they feel little discomfort and the anaesthetic that is mixed with the substance injected reduce this to a minimum.

What is used?

Prolotherapy uses local anaesthetics sometimes mixed with other substances, like biotherapeuic solutions, hyaluronic acids or glucose, which are injected into sites of joint, damage and painful area’s around joints. The procedure can also use a small sample (1 to 2ml ) of your own blood, taken from a suitable site, such as your arm and injected into a specific site, to start healing. This use of ‘autologus blood’ has been well researched in the UK and USA, in tennis elbow. Special cells in your blood called platelets give off a natural growth factor called PDGF that can start an immune (healing).