April 28, 2021

What does the Fiix Elbow do that a percussion unit can't?

For those suffering from this overuse injury, what does the Fiix Elbow do that a percussion unit can’t? Research shows that chronic pain has been linked to restrictions in mobility and daily activities, dependence on opioids, anxiety, depression and poor perceived health or reduced quality of life.

One common source of chronic pain is tennis elbow, which can affect anyone who performs repeated movements with their arms, including tennis players, golfers, gamers, painters, cooks, plumbers and more. This pain from this injury limits or eventually prevents them from doing their work or participating in activities they enjoy.

Among the many ways to treat pain from a variety of conditions, such as muscle soreness or cramps, sciatica and tennis elbow, is percussion therapy, which has grown increasingly popular with the widespread availability of easy-to-use home units.

A new way to treat tennis elbow is the E5 Fiix Elbow wearable device, which is designed for simple self-care at home as well. For those suffering from this overuse injury, what does the Fiix Elbow do that a percussion unit can’t?

Temporary pain relief

Percussion therapy has been used for years to provide pain relief in the muscles and soft tissues. It is a form of rapid massage in which fast bursts of pressure are applied to the affected area to release tension, break up tight spots and increase circulation.

These devices can penetrate deeper and more quickly that alternatives, such as a foam roller or massage therapist’s hands. The frequency of the pulses, and the duration and frequency of the sessions, can vary according to an individual’s preferences.

Percussion alleviates pain by interrupting the body’s pain signals that the nerves send to the brain. In addition, percussion sessions are said to improve range of motion, reduce stiffness and relax thickened connective tissue and fascia.

While percussion treatment definitely can be beneficial, its effects are short-lived. Pain is likely to recur when the individual returns to the activities that caused the pain in the first place. So, the therapy works well to feel better temporarily, but doesn’t promote ongoing healing of an injured area.

Targeted approach

Specifically designed by physical therapists to treat tennis elbow, the Fiix Elbow replicates a proven, clinical procedure known as instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM).

This therapy consists of delivering repetitive, deep strokes to the injured area, which breaks down scar tissue, releases adhesions and fascial restrictions and stimulates circulation to increase oxygen and nutrient supply. Synthesis of new collagen also results.

For tennis elbow, the Fiix Elbow supports healing of the damaged forearm tendon and functional restoration through a protocol of 10 minutes per day, three days per week for eight weeks, along with performing specific stretching and strengthening exercises for the forearm. This targeted approach extends beyond simply pain relief to proactively promote recovery from the injury.

Furthermore, a patient trial of the Fiix Elbow showed that 96 of participants experienced reduced pain, with an 85 percent increase in grip strength and a 76 percent improvement in functional activities.

Existing research on the efficacy of percussion therapy is limited but ongoing. Percussion has been shown to help muscles and bones by increasing blood flow, improving muscle strength, activating bone formation and helping prevent DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). No evidence to date shows that percussion therapy by itself is effective in treating tennis elbow.

To learn more about the differences between percussion devices and the Fiix Elbow device.

Nate Stier MPT, LAT

Owner of Orthopedic & Sports Rehab Physical Therapy Clinics. Former Director of Rehabilitation for the Minnesota Vikings and Graduate of the Mayo School of Health and Sciences.



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