United gave me wrong treatment for knee injury, says Hargreaves


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The Independent Online

Owen Hargreaves has claimed Manchester United prescribed the wrong treatment for his knee condition and reduced him to feeling that he was "made out of glass" before he left the club to rebuild his career at Manchester City.

Hargreaves, whose 57-minute display and goal against Birmingham City in the Carling Cup on Wednesday night hinted that City might have pulled off a masterstroke by signing him, said he had sought medical opinion since leaving Old Trafford which had told him that prolotherapy injections used on his knees were "absolutely" the wrong treatment.

The treatment, which involves injecting glucose into the ligaments to stimulate the growth of new fibres, had "side effects" which made his knee tendons "significantly worse", said Hargreaves, who admitted the course of treatment was embarked upon at a time when he, United and England were desperate to see him back playing.

Hargreaves eventually underwent surgery on his left knee in November 2008 after a scan by Colorado specialist Richard Steadman detected dead tissue. After two months' recovery time, Steadman operated on the right knee the following January.

"They [United's medical staff] said it [prolotherapy treatment] would help and that I wouldn't have any side effects from the injections," Hargreaves said. "That obviously wasn't the case and if I'd known I could have had a reaction like that, I wouldn't have done it. It's my career, I'm in it. I'm trying to get all this information. I'm hearing about tendons and before I didn't know its real function. It was a s**t position to be in."

Asked if he felt he had received medical opinion which confirmed his view that prolotherapy was not the right course of treatment, Hargreaves said: "Absolutely, yes. Absolutely. With my tendon injury, I've had to be a guinea pig for a lot of these treatments. When you're left to try and make something of a difficult situation – basically I wanted to play, everyone wanted me to play so it's not really an option to say, 'Sit it out and rest for six months'. With hindsight it's a lot easier. Yep, probably the injections I had, I should probably not have had."

But Hargreaves did admit that the course of treatment, which Rio Ferdinand has also undergone as a last resort to resolve back trouble, was embarked upon at a time when other solutions had failed.