Immediate Effect of Patterned Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation on Pain and Muscle Activation in Individuals With Patellofemoral Pain.J Athl Train 2016; 51(2):118-28JA
For individuals with patellofemoral pain (PFP), altered muscle activity and pain are common during functional tasks. Clinicians often seek interventions to improve muscle activity and reduce impairments. One intervention that has not been examined in great detail is electrical stimulation.
To determine whether a single patterned electrical neuromuscular stimulation (PENS) treatment would alter muscle activity and pain in individuals with PFP during 2 functional tasks, a single-legged squat and a lateral step down.
Sports medicine research laboratory. PATIENTS OF OTHER PARTICIPANTS: A total of 22 individuals with PFP (15 women, 7 men; age = 26.0 ± 7.9 years, height = 173.8 ± 8.1 cm, mass = 75.1 ± 17.9 kg).
Participants were randomized into 2 intervention groups: a 15-minute PENS treatment that produced a strong motor response or a 15-minute 1-mA subsensory (sham) treatment.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S)
Before and immediately after the intervention, we assessed normalized electromyography amplitude, percentage of activation time across functional tasks, and onset of activation for the vastus medialis oblique, vastus lateralis, gluteus medius, adductor longus, biceps femoris, and medial gastrocnemius muscles during a single-legged squat and a lateral step down. Scores on the visual analog scale for pain were recorded before and after the intervention.
After a single treatment of PENS, the percentage of gluteus medius activation increased (0.024) during the lateral step down. Visual analog scores decreased during both the single-legged squat (PENS: preintervention = 2.7 ± 1.9, postintervention = 0.9 ± 0.7; sham: preintervention = 3.2 ± 1.6, postintervention = 2.8 ± 1.9; group × time interaction: P = .041) and lateral step down (PENS: preintervention = 3.4 ± 2.4, postintervention = 1.1 ± 0.8; sham: preintervention = 3.9 ± 1.7, postintervention = 3.3 ± 2.0; group × time interaction: P = .023). No changes in electromyography or pain measures were noted in the sham group.
The PFP participants who received PENS had immediate improvement in gluteus medius activation and a reduction in pain during functional tasks.