Prolotherapy dates back to the 1940s when it was first introduced by US surgeon George Hackett. The term “Prolotherapy” is derived from the word proliferative (meaning rapid reproduction - typically of cells), due to it promoting new growth and recovery.
Today, podiatrists use this regenerative practice to stimulate healing in the joints, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage of the feet and ankles. By triggering localized inflammation to encourage new tissue growth, prolotherapy helps the body repair injuries and, ultimately, alleviate pain.
Podiatry conditions that may benefit from prolotherapy include Achilles tendon, arthritis, ligament strain, Morton’s neuroma, Plantar Fasciitis, radiculopathy, Sinus Tarsi Syndrome, and tendinopathy. Prolotherapy is offered all over the world, giving patients a less invasive option before considering surgery.
Here’s more background on prolotherapy applications for the feet and the supplies you’ll need for a successful practice.
There are no established guidelines for prolotherapy. It’s considered to be more of an art that is refined through experience.
Treatments may vary between three to five injections every 2 to 3 weeks, depending on the patient’s condition. A dextrose solution, ranging in concentration from 12.5% to 25%, is injected into the damaged area to elicit the arachidonic acid (AA) inflammatory pathway. Local anesthetic added to the injection helps minimize pain from the procedure, and some practitioners also include human growth hormone (HGH) for additional healing support.
Patients should expect soreness for the next two to three days as their body ramps up the healing process. They may also need to wear orthotic footwear to reduce further injury. If patients require additional pain management, they should be advised to avoid anti-inflammatory meds that can undermine the prolotherapy goals of temporarily boosting inflammation.
Studies on Achilles tendinopathy suggest that prolotherapy combined with physical therapy provided superior results compared to physical therapy alone. In addition, one study showed an 88% decrease in pain during rest after 12 months of prolotherapy and an 84% lower pain level during daily activities. Participants also experienced significant reductions in tendon thickness after prolotherapy treatment, confirmed by ultrasound imaging.
Prolotherapy can be an ideal choice for patients who haven’t responded well to other conservative treatments and can’t or don’t want to undergo surgery. Some patients have reported sustained improvements 2.5 years after treatment, suggesting that beneficial changes are likely permanent.
High-quality prolotherapy needles ensure your patients have the best experience. Using the right tools lowers the risk of contamination and pain during the procedure. In addition to needles, you may also need syringes, syringe connectors and sterile gauze sponges.
For ankle arthritis, some experts suggest a 25g x 1.5-inch needle for injecting a 25% dextrose solution into the ankle joint and sub-talar joint. To treat injured ligaments, you can fit use a 25g x 1.5-inch needle and a 10cc Luer Lock syringe that’s pre-filled with a prolotherapy solution. Then, inject 0.5cc into each point of the damaged ligament. In some cases, a 25g x 2” needle can be more helpful for prolotherapy of the foot. Many podiatrists also stock up on 27g needles for numbing and other applications. Experts also recommend using a 25g x 1.5-inch needle for treating Plantar Fascia, Tarsal tunnel, Interdigital space and First metatarsophalangeal joint along with 3ml, 5ml and 10ml syringes.
If you are searching for needles for your prolotherapy application, Air-Tite Products has a wide selection of suitable needles, including EZ FLO Needles, EXEL International Hypodermic Needles, HSW HENKE-JECT Hypodermic Needles, and TSK STERiJECT™ Hypodermic Needles. We also offer a variety of syringes in applicable sizes sought out by prolotherapy providers from brands such as EXEL, HENKE-JECT, and NORM-JECT (2-Part syringes).
At Air-Tite, a broad range of needle and syringe options are always available at affordable prices. Click below to view our inventory of prolotherapy needles and supplies. If you need help, our friendly customer support team is happy to take questions and offer recommendations.
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