Background: While numerous studies suggest the benefit of electrical stimulation (E-Stim) therapy to accelerate wound healing, the underlying mechanism of action is still debated. In this pilot study, we examined the potential effectiveness of lower extremity E-Stim therapy to improve tissue perfusion in patients with diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs). Methods: Thirty-eight patients with DFUs were recruited. Participants underwent 60-minutes of active E-Stim therapy provided on acupuncture points above the level of the ankle joint using a bio-electric stimulation technology® (BEST) platform (Tennant Biomodulator® PRO). As primary outcome, changes in perfusion in response to E-Stim were assessed by measuring skin perfusion pressure (SPP) at baseline, 30-, and 60-min during therapy. In addition, retention was assessed 10-min post-therapy. As secondary outcome, tissue oxygen saturation (SatO2) was measured using a non-invasive near-infrared camera (Snapshot NIR, KENT Imaging Inc). Results: SPP increased in response to E-Stim therapy (p = 0.02) with maximum improvement observed at 60-min (11%, p = 0.007) compared to baseline. SPP reduced at 10-min post therapy, but remained higher than baseline (9%, p = 0.1). Magnitude of improvement at 60-min was negatively correlated with baseline SPP values (r = -0.45, p = 0.01) suggesting those with lower perfusion could benefit more from E-Stim therapy. Similar trends were observed for SatO2 with statistically significant improvement for a sub-sample (n=16) with moderate-severe peripheral arterial disease (Ankle brachial index < 0.8 or > 1.4). Conclusions: This study provides early results on the feasibility and effectiveness of E-Stim therapy to improve skin perfusion and SatO2. The magnitude of benefit is higher among those with poorer skin perfusion. Results also suggest the effects of E-Stim could be washed out after stopping therapy and thus regular daily application may be required for the effective benefit for wound healing.
Although numerous studies suggest the benefit of electrical stimulation (E-Stim) therapy to accelerate wound healing, the underlying mechanism of action is still debated. In this pilot study, we examined the potential effectiveness of lower-extremity E-Stim therapy to improve tissue perfusion in patients with diabetic foot ulcers.
Thirty-eight patients with diabetic foot ulcers underwent 60 min of active E-Stim therapy on acupuncture points above the level of the ankle joint using a bioelectric stimulation technology platform. Perfusion changes in response to E-Stim were assessed by measuring skin perfusion pressure (SPP) at baseline and during 30 and 60 min of therapy; retention was assessed 10 min after therapy. Tissue oxygen saturation (SatO2) was measured using a noninvasive near-infrared camera.
Skin perfusion pressure increased in response to E-Stim therapy (P = .02), with maximum improvement observed at 60 min (11%; P = .007) compared with baseline; SPP reduced 10 min after therapy but remained higher than baseline (9%; P = .1). Magnitude of improvement at 60 min was negatively correlated with baseline SPP values (r = –0.45; P = .01), suggesting that those with lower perfusion could benefit more from E-Stim therapy. Similar trends were observed for SatO2, with statistically significant improvement for a subsample (n = 16) with moderate-to-severe peripheral artery disease.
This study provides early results on the feasibility and effectiveness of E-Stim therapy to improve skin perfusion and SatO2. The magnitude of benefit is higher in those with poorer skin perfusion. Also, the effects of E-Stim could be washed out after stopping therapy, and regular daily application might be required for effective benefit in wound healing.
Background: Recent research has discussed the use of low-frequency electrical stimulation to increase blood flow by eliciting muscular contraction in soft tissues. This randomized clinical trial examined the efficacy of low-frequency electrical stimulation combined with stretching exercises and foot orthoses in individuals diagnosed as having plantar fasciitis for less than 6 months.
Methods: Twenty-six participants aged 18 to 65 years diagnosed as having plantar fasciitis were randomly assigned to two treatment groups: a control group receiving only stretching and orthoses and a treatment group receiving low-frequency electrical stimulation in addition to stretching and orthoses. To assess treatment response, a visual analog scale was used to determine first-step morning pain, and changes in daily activity levels were monitored by using a validated outcome measure. All of the participants were assessed before starting treatment, after 4 weeks of treatment, and 3 months after the conclusion of treatment.
Results: Participants in the control and experimental groups demonstrated pain reduction and improvements in functional activity levels after 4 weeks and 3 months.
Conclusions: Regardless of whether low-frequency electrical stimulation was used as an intervention, the use of plantar fascia–specific stretching and prefabricated foot orthoses provided short-term (3-month) pain relief and improvement in functional activity levels. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 99(6): 481–488, 2009)
First-line therapy for diabetic patients presenting with intermittent claudication includes supervised exercise programs to improve walking distance. However, exercise comes with a variety of barriers and may be contraindicated in certain conditions. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether calf muscle electrostimulation improves claudication distance.
A prospective, one-group, pretest-posttest study design was used on 40 participants living with type 2 diabetes mellitus, peripheral artery disease (ankle brachial pressure index, <0.90), and calf muscle claudication. Calf muscle electrostimulation of varying frequencies (1–250 Hz) was prescribed on both limbs for 1-hour daily sessions for 12 consecutive weeks. The absolute claudication distance (ACD) was measured at baseline and after the intervention.
The recruited cohort (30 men and ten women; mean age, 71 years; mean ankle brachial pressure index, 0.70) registered a mean ± SD baseline ACD of 333.71 ± 208 m. After a mean ± SD of 91.68 ± 6.23 days of electrical stimulation, a significant mean ± SD increase of 137 ± 136 m in the ACD (P = .001, Wilcoxon signed rank test) was registered. Improvement was found to be sex independent, but age was negatively correlated with proportion of improvement (r = –0.361; P = .011, Pearson correlation test).
Electrical stimulation of varying frequencies on ischemic calf muscles significantly increased the maximal walking capacity in claudicants with type 2 diabetes. This therapeutic approach should be considered in patients with impaired exercise tolerance or as an adjunct treatment modality.
The effect of electrical currents on living cellular systems has been studied by many researchers and is becoming useful in clinical medicine. Alteration of cellular activity with externally applied currents can positively or negatively influence the status of a healing tissue, thereby directing the healing process to a desired outcome. A review of the literature pertaining to the effect of electrical currents on tissue healing is presented and the relevance of this modality to ulcer healing is discussed.
Hallux abducto valgus (HAV) is a frequently seen abnormality of the first metatarsophalangeal joint. Limited conservative treatment options exist, making surgery the only definitive treatment option for a mild to moderate deformity. Since initially published in 2008, treatment of HAV with botulinum toxin injection has evolved as a potentially effective modality as shown in several subsequent independent studies.
Botulinum injection of two intrinsic foot muscles (extensor halluces brevis and flexor hallucis brevis) in addition to adductor hallucis under electrical stimulation is presented as an improvement to the original method.
The additional muscle injections of botulinum resulted in an further reduction of the HAV deformity and associated pain.
A significant improvement to the injection paradigm developed the author may prove to be more effective in reducing the HAV deformity and its associated pain.
Background: Heel pain, bunion pain, and other forms of foot pain syndromes are one of the more common reasons a patient visits a podiatrist. Numerous methods are currently available to attempt to achieve pain relief, including pharmaceuticals, magnets, heat, and electrical stimulation. A textile company developed Pain Checker socks (Pain Checker Health Wear, Cresskill, New Jersey), which contains a material that may counter the circuit of pain and oppose the effect, thereby stopping the conduction of pain.
Methods: The purpose of this placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Pain Checker socks in the treatment of mild-to-moderate foot pain. Fifty patients were enrolled, half on active and half on placebo socks. The subjects were evaluated at baseline, 2, 4, and 6 weeks of treatment.
Results: There was no statistically significant difference in disability, pain, or activity scales between treatment groups, although only 5% of the treatment group received no pain relief on visual analog scale during the trial, while 38% of the placebo group received no pain relief.
Conclusion: Although there was no difference in pain relief, the Pain Checker socks were found to be safe and scored high in patient satisfaction. The unique fiber content and construction of the socks may have contributed to the placebo analgesia. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 98(4): 278–282, 2008)