The acute effects of local vibration therapy on ankle sprain and hamstring strain injuries

Phys Sportsmed. 2009 Dec;37(4):31-8. doi: 10.3810/psm.2009.12.1739.


Aims: The purpose of this study was to determine if biomechanical muscle stimulation (BMS) applied directly to different segments of the body using the Swisswing device results in acute improvements in range of motion and perceived stiffness in physically active adults with acute or subacute ankle sprain and hamstring strain injuries.

Methods: Two separate groups of individuals with grade I or II ankle sprain (n = 5; 21.2 +/- 1.9 years) or hamstring strain (Nn= 5; 20.6 +/- 1.8 year) underwent 20 minutes of a controlled therapy consisting of ice, compression, and elevation, and 10 minutes of segmental BMS using the Swisswing at 20 Hz. Ankle (dorsiflexion, plantar flexion, inversion, eversion), hamstring flexibility, and subjective ratings of stiffness were assessed prior to control treatment (baseline), post-control treatment, and post-Swisswing treatment.

Results: Relative to the post-control condition, Swisswing treatment significantly (P < 0.03 for all) increased ankle dorsiflexion and eversion and hamstring flexibility, and significantly (P <or= 0.05) decreased perceived ankle and hamstring stiffness.

Conclusion: Segmental BMS therapy using the Swisswing device appears to have significant acute benefits for improving flexibility and reducing perceived stiffness in healthy adults with ankle or hamstring injury. Future research is needed to determine the duration of these effects and if repeated periods of segmental BMS therapy aid in long-term injury recovery.

MeSH terms

  • Ankle Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Athletic Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cold Temperature
  • Cryotherapy
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Leg Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Soft Tissue Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Sprains and Strains / rehabilitation*
  • Thigh
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vibration / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult