Testosterone and joint repair
Can low testosterone levels cause chronic joint pain? If so how? Research has shown that Testosterone has a direct effect on cartilage growth. If the testosterone levels are low, so is the body’s ability to regrow damaged cartilage.
Testosterone is an anabolic hormone, its characteristics are well known as a hormone that promotes repair and growth of soft tissue. As such testosterone is responsible for protein synthesis, enhance production of muscle and cartilage growth. Many people believe that testosterone is only a male hormone, but it also plays a pivotal role in the female body chemistry as well. Male or female, if one has a low testosterone level, then they will likely experience more difficulty healing.
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Testosterone and joint repair
- A Swedish study recently focused on the effects of testosterone on chondrocytes (the building blocks of cartilage) and found testosterone promoted differentiation (multiplication) of chondrocytes which increased collagen production and acted to repair cartilage.1
- An Australian study examining the role of low circulating testosterone in men facing total knee replacement found that low testosterone impacted cartilage tissue loss and bone loss.2
- In one landmark study from St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College in London, doctors showed how testosterone reversed cartilage damage and reduced proteoglycan (the stuff of connective tissue) loss. It was suggested that testosterone replacement therapy may help prevent joint damage and disability.3
- Research from our colleagues Marc Dubick, MD and Thomas Ravin MD have shown that testosterone injections into the lower back helped substantially reduce chronic lower back pain in patients.4
- Researchers in Brazil have shown that testosterone supplementation prevents TMJ pain stimulation in men.5
- Doctors at John Hopkins University link circulating testosterone levels in men with ligament strength.6
1. Lorentzon M, Swanson C, Andersson N, Mellstrom D, Ohlsson C. Free Testosterone is a Positive, Whereas free Estradoil Is a Negative, Predictor of Coritcal Bone Size in Young Swedish Men: The GOOD Study. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 2005; 20(8) : 1334-1339. Pubmed Citation
2. Hanna F, Ebeling PR, Wang Y, O’Sullivan R, Davis S, Wluka AE, Cicuttini FM. Factors influencing longitudinal change in knee cartilage volume measured from magnetic resonance imaging in healthy men. Ann Rheum Dis. 2005 Jul;64(7):1038-42. Pubmed citation
3. Da Silva JA, Larbre JP, Spector TD, Perry LA, Scott DL, Willoughby DA. Protective effect of androgens against inflammation induced cartilage degradation in male rodents. Ann Rheum Dis. 1993 Apr;52(4):285-91. Pubmed citation
4 Dubick MN, Ravin TH, Michel Y, Morrisette DC. Use of localized human growth hormone and testosterone injections in addition to manual therapy and exercise for lower back pain: a case series with 12-month follow-up. Journal of Pain Research. 2015;8:295-302. doi:10.2147/JPR.S81078. Pubmed Citation
5 Fanton LE, Macedo CG, Torres-Chávez KE, Fischer L, Tambeli CH. Activational action of testosterone on androgen receptors protects males preventing temporomandibular joint pain. Biochem Behav. 2017 Jan;152:30-35. Pubmed Citation
6 Romani WA, Belkoff SM, Elisseeff JH. Testosterone may increase rat anterior cruciate ligament strength. Knee. 2016 Dec;23(6):1069-1073. doi: 10.1016/j.knee.2016.07.004. Epub 2016 Sep 20. Pubmed citation.