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    Electrical stimulation is an established method that is used to improve muscle strength. The present study compared changes in the navicular drop test (NDT), muscle size, the five times sit to stand (5TSTS) test, the timed up and go (TUG) test, and the risk of falls in response to transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) plus short foot exercise (SFE) and SFE alone in 68 healthy elderly participants aged 65−75 years. Participants were randomly assigned to two groups: TENS plus SFE and SFE alone (with sham TENS). Measurements of NDT, muscle size, 5TSTS, TUG, and risk of falls were made before and after 4 weeks of training. The NDT was significantly improved by a median of 0.31 mm in the TENS plus SFE group and 0.64 mm in the SFE alone group (p < 0.001). Similarly, there was a significant improvement in Falls Efficacy Scale International (FES-I), 5TSTS, and TUG for both groups (p < 0.001). The abductor hallucis muscle size increased by 0.23 cm2 in the TENS plus SFE group and 0.26 cm2 in the SFE alone group (p < 0.001). There were no significant differences between the two groups for any variables (p > 0.05) except TUG, which showed a greater improvement in the TENS plus SFE group (p = 0.008). Our findings demonstrated that TENS plus SFE and SFE alone improved intrinsic foot muscle size. However, TENS plus SFE tended to improve NDT more than SFE alone, particularly in cases of severe muscle weakness. Thus, the combined use of TENS plus SFE could be recommended for muscle strengthening and balance programs for fall prevention in older adults.


    Juntip Namsawang, Pornpimol Muanjai. Combined Use of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and Short Foot Exercise Improves Navicular Height, Muscle Size, Function Mobility, and Risk of Falls in Healthy Older Adults. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2022 Jun 11;19(12)

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    PMID: 35742445

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