What is the Treatment for Tennis Elbow?

In most cases, tennis elbow responds to conservative treatment. Conservative treatment is aimed at pain relief and reducing inflammation, and may include the following;

Modifications of activity - Activities that make the pain worse are avoided.

Ice - Cold therapy will assist in limiting the pain and decrease inflammation. It is usually recommended that ice be applied for 20 minutes three times a day, especially after any activity such as sports or work.

Medication - Anti-inflammatory medication, which include ibuprofen or other prescription medications are usually taken daily for 4-6 weeks as prescribed by your physician. If no relief has been obtained, your doctor may inject the elbow with Cortisone. Cortisone is an anti inflammatory, providing temporary relief lasting for a period of weeks to several months.

Stretching and Strengthening Exercises - Stretching and strengthening exercises are felt to be very beneficial in the treatment plan. A gentle stretching program consists of range of motion of the elbow and wrist. This is often combined with a program of muscle strengthening. Your physician or physical therapist will instruct you on a supervised program.

Straps/Braces - Straps and braces are used to rest the forearm and to take the stress off of the muscles as they attach at the elbow.

Who is a Candidate for Treatment with High Energy Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy?

The OssaTron® high-energy orthopedic shockwave device was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of chronic lateral epicondylitis, commonly called Tennis Elbow. FDA approval was based on a 225 patient clinical trail, in which 90 percent of participants reported improvement with the treatment. The OssaTron® has a success rate that is equal to or greater than surgery.

The OssaTron® high-energy extracorporeal shock wave treatment is recommended for those who have had lateral epicondylitis for six months or more and who have failed at least three conservative therapies.

Treating Tennis Elbow with the OssaTron®

The FDA approved the OssaTron® as a treatment option for lateral epicondylitis. The OssaTron® uses a spark plug electrode to generate shock waves. The device is a variation of the machine used in the treatment of kidney stones called a lithotripter. The lithotripter uses shock waves to break up kidney stones.

According to Dr. Argil Wheelock of HealthTronics, the OssaTron® device works by using energy to disrupt scar tissue, causing microscopic damage to the tissue. "You then get new blood vessel growth into the area, which allows the normal tissue healing cells to come in and repair the injury." OssaTron® treatments are performed as an outpatient procedure, requiring either local or light general anesthesia. Treatment time is approximately 12 minutes.

What to Expect After Treatment with the OssaTron®

Following the procedure, you will be transferred to the recovery area for a brief observation period. You will be discharged when fully alert. You will be required to have another person drive you home.

You may experience some pain or discomfort in the elbow that has been treated. Some patients report that the treated elbow feels better immediately following the procedure, while others report that pain relief takes from four to twelve weeks.

Normal activities are usually resumed immediately. It is recommended that you do not participate in any stressful activity involving the affected elbow until your next visit to your doctors.