By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There’s a new, easy and more convenient way to help injuries heal faster.
Staying active is important for everyone, whether it’s walking, biking or gardening. All the movement, or a condition that weakens your bones, increases the risk for a stress fracture; that’s a tiny, sometimes hidden crack in the bone that can cause months, even years of agony.
“It kept getting worse and worse,” said Laura Placentra, who, after months of living with swelling and pain in her leg, finally got an MRI that showed a stress fracture.
“It wasn’t really a sharp pain. It was more of a throbbing, sort of lasting pain,” said Laura.
This was an especially big problem for Laura because she is a pole vaulter at the University of Pennsylvania. She wanted to avoid surgery, and have the bone heal as quickly as possible.
Dr. Samir Mehta at Penn Medicine prescribed a new ultrasound therapy.
“It’s a really good way to get that bone going, give it a kick start if you will,” said Dr. Mehta.
Laura can use the portable FDA approved device anywhere. She straps it around her leg, over the fracture, for 20 minutes, twice a day.
“You don’t feel anything,” said Laura.
Research has shown ultrasound waves stimulate cell activity to speed up healing.
“It works well in things like stress fractures and other minimal fractures,” said Dr. Mehta.
While it’s healing, Laura can’t put any pressure on her leg. She is grateful to be getting the new therapy.
“It’s extremely easy to use, and I’m seeing results already, actually the swelling has gone down. There’s less pain on the upper part of my tibia. It’s really great,” said Laura.
The portable ultrasound therapy can be used from six weeks to six months on the legs, arms and pelvis, and after surgery for broken bones. It’s covered by most insurance.
RELATED LINK: Penn Trauma & Fracture Service