Shock waves serve up tennis elbow relief

A new medical device is offering a means for Americans to keep the ball in their court when it comes to tennis elbow pain. Nine million Americans suffer from the condition, which results from on-the-job as well as sports injuries. Tennis elbow’s hallmark symptoms include nagging pain, difficulty extending the arm and grasping objects. It is caused by stress of the tendon attached to the bone of the lateral or outer portion of the elbow.

In the past, chronic sufferers used either passive therapy or aggressive surgical solutions that yielded somewhat unsatisfactory results. Passive means of addressing tennis elbow pain include the use of braces, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil, Motrin, aspirin, etc.), rest and physical therapy. More aggressive treatments have utilized anything from steroid injections to invasive surgery. The problem? These treatments offer varying degrees of success, many can be painful, and almost all require more recovery time (and hence more money) than most patients anticipate.

Earlier this year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval of the first high-energy single application Extracorporeal Shock Wave system for treatment of tennis elbow. The device, called the OssaTron, has been providing a non-invasive surgical treatment for approved orthopedic conditions like heel pain. Now people who suffer from chronic tennis elbow have access to the same treatment relief.

How does it work? The OssaTron procedure delivers electrohydraulic high-energy shock waves (similar to those used to treat kidney stones) to the damaged tissue. This increases blood flow, reduces inflammation and ultimately stimulates healing.

FDA-sanctioned studies have indicated that electrohydraulic shock wave systems like the OssaTron are highly effective. In a recent study, 90 percent of patients received a benefit from the treatment, and 64 percent had an excellent or good outcome with a single OssaTron treatment.

“The burdens associated with elbow splints, arduous rehabilitation programs and long healing periods are lessened with noninvasive surgical procedures such as the OssaTron,” said Dr. Evan Collins, Baylor orthopedic surgeon. “The procedure is efficient and offers patients quick relief without the potential complications associated with invasive surgery.”

Tennis elbow sufferers can learn more by calling (888) 969-4335, or by visiting

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