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.
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.
Multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Data were collected at 9 colleges and universities and 1 professional training site.
50 intercollegiate and professional athletes.
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.
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).
Application of subsensory HVPC had no clinically meaningful effect on return to play after lateral ankle sprain.