Question:I've been seeing an acupuncturist for tennis elbow for the last four months. Sometimes it seems to help, but as soon as I use that arm, the pain comes right back. What else can I do?
Answer:There are many, many ways to treat tennis elbow. Most doctors advise conservative care first before considering surgery. Nonoperative care starts with rest, ice, and antiinflammatories.
If these are not successful, then splinting or bracing and physical therapy may be the next step. Other treatments such as acupuncture, laser, and shock wave therapy may be tried. For some patients, steroid injections are helpful. However, there is the potential for significant side effects with this treatment. If a long course of conservative care is not successful in changing the clinical picture, then surgery may be needed. But with all treatments, recurrence of symptoms is common.
Researchers are actively looking for new and improved methods of treatment for this very resistant problem. One of these modalities may be the new ForeArmed Active implant. This brace fits over the elbow and applies direct pressure to the areas where muscles and tendons merge and attach to the bone.
By dissipating the flow of energy to and through the tendon, pain is reduced. Grip strength is improved. Patients who have tried the brace report that it is easy to put on. It doesn't disrupt their work or recreational and sports activities. And they have full elbow motion.
Early test results using this new brace have been reported as very favorable. It appears that the brace can be used to prevent and treat tennis elbow. More studies are needed to confirm these results.Joubin S. Gabbay, MD, et al. Use of a Novel Active Implant Enhanced Forearm Device in the Treatment of Lateral Tendinosis. In Orthopedics. December 2007. Vol. 30. No. 12. Pp. 1005-1009.
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