Effect of High-Voltage Pulsed Current on Recovery After Grades I and II Lateral Ankle Sprains

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation

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Frank C. Mendel
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Michael G. Dolan
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Dale R. Fish
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John Marzo
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Gregory E. Wilding
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Context:

High-voltage pulsed current (HVPC), a form of electrical stimulation, is known to curb edema formation in laboratory animals and is commonly applied for ankle sprains, but the clinical effects remain undocumented.

Objective:

To determine whether, as an adjunct to routine acute and subacute care, subsensory HVPC applied nearly continuously for the first 72 h after lateral ankle sprains affected time lost to injury.

Design:

Multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Setting:

Data were collected at 9 colleges and universities and 1 professional training site.

Participants:

50 intercollegiate and professional athletes.

Interventions:

Near-continuous live or placebo HVPC for 72 h postinjury in addition to routine acute and subacute care.

Main Outcome Measure:

Time lost to injury measured from time of injury until declared fit to play.

Results:

Overall, time lost to injury was not different between treated and control groups (P = .55). However, grade of injury was a significant factor. Time lost to injury after grade I lateral ankle sprains was greater for athletes receiving live HVPC than for those receiving placebo HVPC (P = .049), but no differences were found between groups for grade II sprains (P = .079).

Conclusions:

Application of subsensory HVPC had no clinically meaningful effect on return to play after lateral ankle sprain.

Mendel is with the Dept of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences; Fish, the Dept of Rehabilitation Science; Marzo, the Dept of Orthopedics; and Wilding, the Dept of Biostatistics, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY. Dolan is with the Dept of Sports Medicine, Health and Human Performance, Canisius College, Buffalo, NY.

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