Author(s): Jensen KT, Rabago DP, Best TM, Patterson JJ, Vanderby R Jr, Jensen KT, Rabago DP, Best TM, Patterson JJ, Vanderby R Jr
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Prolotherapy is an alternative therapy for chronic musculoskeletal injury including joint laxity. The commonly used injectant, D-glucose (dextrose), is hypothesized to improve ligament mechanics and decrease pain through an inflammatory mechanism. No study has investigated the mechanical effects of prolotherapy on stretch-injured ligaments. HYPOTHESES: Dextrose injections will enlarge cross-sectional area, decrease laxity, strengthen, and stiffen stretch-injured medial collateral ligaments (MCLs) compared with controls. Dextrose prolotherapy will increase collagen fibril diameter and density of stretch-injured MCLs. STUDY DESIGN: Controlled laboratory study. METHODS: Twenty-four rats were bilaterally MCL stretch-injured, and the induced laxity was measured. After 2 weeks, 32 MCLs were injected twice, 1 week apart, with either dextrose or saline control; 16 MCLs received no injection. Seven uninjured rats (14 MCLs) were additional controls. Two weeks after the second injection, ligament laxity, mechanical properties (n = 8), and collagen fibril diameter and density (n = 3) were assessed. RESULTS: The injury model created consistent ligament laxity (P < .05) that was not altered by dextrose injections. Cross-sectional area of dextrose-injected MCLs was increased 30\% and 90\% compared with saline and uninjured controls, respectively (P < .05). Collagen fibril diameter and density were decreased in injured ligaments compared with uninjured controls (P < .05), but collagen fibril characteristics were not different between injured groups. CONCLUSION: Dextrose injections increased the cross-sectional area of MCLs compared with saline-injected and uninjured controls. Dextrose injections did not alter other measured properties in this model. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Our results suggest that clinical improvement from prolotherapy may not result from direct effects on ligament biomechanics.
This article was published in Am J Sports Med
and referenced in Journal of Arthritis