Effect of high-voltage pulsed current on recovery after grades I and II lateral ankle sprains

J Sport Rehabil. 2010 Nov;19(4):399-410. doi: 10.1123/jsr.19.4.399.


Context: High-voltage pulsed current (HVPC), a form of electrical stimulation, is known to curb edema formation in laboratory animals and is commonly applied for ankle sprains, but the clinical effects remain undocumented.

Objective: To determine whether, as an adjunct to routine acute and subacute care, subsensory HVPC applied nearly continuously for the first 72 h after lateral ankle sprains affected time lost to injury.

Design: Multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Setting: Data were collected at 9 colleges and universities and 1 professional training site.

Participants: 50 intercollegiate and professional athletes.

Interventions: Near-continuous live or placebo HVPC for 72 h postinjury in addition to routine acute and subacute care.

Main outcome measure: Time lost to injury measured from time of injury until declared fit to play.

Results: Overall, time lost to injury was not different between treated and control groups (P = .55). However, grade of injury was a significant factor. Time lost to injury after grade I lateral ankle sprains was greater for athletes receiving live HVPC than for those receiving placebo HVPC (P = .049), but no differences were found between groups for grade II sprains (P = .079).

Conclusions: Application of subsensory HVPC had no clinically meaningful effect on return to play after lateral ankle sprain.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ankle Injuries / classification
  • Ankle Injuries / therapy*
  • Athletic Injuries / classification
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Placebos
  • Recovery of Function
  • Sprains and Strains / classification
  • Sprains and Strains / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Placebos