Prolotherapy For Elbow Pain

The Elbow is a synovial hinge joint. It is located between the upper arm and the forearm. Both the elbow joint and Radioulnar joint share a single capsule. The capsule is strengthened by ligaments with greater support from the sides than the front and back.

The elbow can move in 4 ways. Flexion, Extension, Pronation and Supination. It does this through the action of muscles.

The elbow is commonly injured during sporting activities or from trauma.

The types of injuries affecting the elbow joint are

  • Tendonitis
  • Fractures
  • Dislocation
  • Arthritis
  • Bursitis


This is the most common cause of shoulder pain. Tendonitis is usually caused by overuse. The 2 main types are golfers elbow and tennis elbow. Golfer’s elbow involves the tendon of the common flexor origin which originates at the inside of the elbow. Tennis elbow involves the common extensor tendon and starts at the outside of the elbow. Usually these injuries are long standing and involve repetitive activity of either the flexors inside swing and extensor tendon, outside swing. Both conditions respond very well to prolotherapy whether in its simple or cellular forms. See studies in the evidence section.


Fractures involves any combination of the 3 bones that comprise the elbow joint. Fractures can result in severe disability and involves a fall. Usually patients are unable to straighten or fully extend their arms. Depending on the severity of the injury, surgery may be indicated. Often casting is sufficient enough to allow healing.

Prolotherapy is very effective once rehabilitation begins and acts to speed up the healing process and stabilize injured ligaments and tendons.


Elbow dislocations constitute almost a quarter of all elbow injuries. The elbow is one of the most commonly dislocated joints in the body, with an average annual incidence of acute dislocation of 6 per 100,000 persons.[23] Among injuries to the upper extremity, dislocation of the elbow is second only to a dislocated shoulder. A full dislocation of the elbow will require expert medical attention to re-align, and recovery can take approximately 8–14 weeks. A small amount of people (10% or less) report near full recovery and minimal permanent restriction, but a permanent restriction of 5–15% movement is common.

Prolotherapy is an effective way to prevent joint dislocations, specifically in the elbow. Usually joints become dislocated due to laxity of the stabilizing ligaments that hold the joint together. Prolotherapy induces collagen production that in turn rebuild stronger, shorter ligaments that stabilize the joint.


This is usually as a result of over use and or injury with further deterioration of the joint. Osteoarthritis of the elbow occurs when the cartilage surface of the elbow is damaged or becomes worn. This can happen because of a previous injury such as elbow dislocation or fracture. It may also be the result of degeneration of the joint cartilage from age. Osteoarthritis usually affects the weight-bearing joints, such as the hip and knee. The elbow is one of the least affected joints because of its well matched joint surfaces and strong stabilizing ligaments. As a result, the elbow joint can tolerate large forces across it without becoming unstable.

Prolotherapy can be used to manage and often reverse deterioration of the elbow joint by repairing, strengthening and stabilizing the joint as above and preventing frictional forces in the lax arthritic joint from further wearing down cartilage.


Bursitis usually occurs as a result of chronic irritation of the bursa, naturally occurring fluid filled sacs that cover bony prominences.

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