The effect of an 8-week treatment program using a novel foot neuromuscular electrical stimulator on physical function, leg pain, leg symptoms, and leg blood flow in community-dwelling older adults: a randomized sham-controlled trial

Binoy Kumaran, Darren Targett, Tim Watson

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Abstract

Background: Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) is an established therapy that has been widely used for many decades to improve circulation in the legs. However, studies using NMES devices in an elderly, ambulant, and otherwise apparently healthy population are lacking; this is despite the use of such devices being indicated for lower leg symptoms (such as aches, pain, and cramps) that are frequently seen in older individuals. The main purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of non-invasive foot NMES (administered using Revitive Medic©) on such symptoms compared to a sham in a 12-week period. Methods: This is a single-center, single (participant)-blind, parallel-group, randomized, placebo-controlled (sham group), interventional study. Participants will be randomized to 1 of 3 groups (1:1:1) with each study group receiving a different type of foot NMES: Revitive sham; Revitive Medic© Program 1; or Revitive® Program 2. Each participant will be instructed to self-administer the foot NMES device for 30 min twice daily for 8 weeks. During the study, all participants will continue with their normal life, activities, medications, and diet with no restrictions. Following the 8-week NMES treatment program participants will be assessed for Canadian Occupational Performance Measure performance (COPM-P) and satisfaction (COPM-S) scores, lower leg pain, lower leg symptoms (heaviness, tiredness, aching and cramps), and blood flow volume and intensity. Discussion: Revitive® foot NMES has been proven to increase blood circulation in the legs during use, which may help to relieve symptoms such as pain, heaviness, cramps, and tiredness. When NMES is applied to the plantar surface of the feet it indirectly induces contraction of the calf muscle, activating the musculo-venous pump and thus improving circulation. This study aims to provide data informing on the applicability of foot NMES for the management of leg symptoms that are likely to be indicative of poor circulation in an elderly (> 65 years) community population. Trial registration: ISRCTN10576209.
Original languageEnglish
Article number873
Number of pages14
JournalTrials
Volume23
Issue number1
Early online date14 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Study Protocol
  • Neuromuscular electrical stimulator (NMES)
  • Blood flow
  • Leg pain
  • Leg symptoms

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