Treatment system uses compressed air, cold water to speed healing

Published: 2012-03-06 11:00:36
Author: Stan Goldberg

 Mike Parker crushed his left ankle in a work-related accident in 2005 and has been in pain ever since.

He's had six surgeries and has tried numerous treatments and pain medications.

Nothing seemed to help.

Then late last year, on the advice of his podiatrist, Dr. David A. Lieb of Frederick, he decided to try the vasopneumatic compression system, a machine that uses compressed air and cold water at the same time to treat injuries.

"This is the only machine that gives me honest-to-goodness relief," said the 51-year-old Parker, who has had about four treatments. "This is the best it's felt since I hurt it."

Parker sat in a comfortable chair in Lieb's office as the treatment was done. On a nearby table was the compression machine. The system is called Game Ready, made by CoolSystems Inc. of California.

Parker, whose leg was so swollen you could not see the ankle, was wearing a wrap that went from his foot to his knee. Three hoses went from the machine into the wrap -- one for air to enter, another for air to exit and another for cold water to circulate.

"I was skeptical at first because I've had so many different treatments," Parker said. "With this I get relief for a couple of days. I'm impressed, I know this is going to catch on."

Parker comes for treatments once or twice a week, but wants to increase his visits. He hopes to get rid of the pain and cut down on his medications.

The machine has been around for about 10 years and is becoming more popular. The idea behind it is to use intermittent compression and cold treatments together to cut down on inflammation and pain, and speed up the healing process.