Electromagnetic fields and their uses in bone healing have been fairly well studied, with most results showing improvement in healing of both bone and cartilage. Most supportive data are found in relation to the spine, femur, and tibia, but there is increasing evidence for its use in the foot and ankle for treatment of nonunions and as an adjunctive device in arthrodeses, particularly in high-risk populations. There are varying data and a significant variety of quality in the current research and publications concerning the use of electrical bone stimulation in the treatment of the foot and ankle. Thus, there is a definite need for further investigation and high-quality study designs to determine the most effective treatment modalities and pathologies best used with bone stimulation. Bone stimulation should be viewed as an adjunctive procedure in which the surgeon optimizes the high-risk patient both medically or surgically whenever possible. But when used appropriately, bone stimulation has the potential to influence outcomes and aid in bone healing when complications arise and in high-risk populations.
Keywords: Bone stimulator; Delayed union; Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound scan; Nonunion; Osteochondral defects; Pulsed electromagnetic fields.
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