Feasibility of Superimposed Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation to the Gluteus Medius During a Resistance Training Program

J Sport Rehabil. 2022 Mar 1;31(3):279-285. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2021-0095. Epub 2021 Dec 11.


Context: Gluteus medius (GMed) weakness is a common impairment seen across multiple lower-extremity pathologies. Greater GMed weakness is moderately associated with greater frontal plane motion, often termed dynamic knee valgus during functional tasks which may increase risk of lower-extremity injury. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) superimposed to targeted muscles has emerged in clinical practice; however, NMES superimposed to the GMed in unknown. It is essential to assess the safety, credibility, and expectancy of NMES superimposed to the GMed prior to implementation in clinical practice. The objective of this study was to evaluate feasibility, safety, credibility, and expectancy of improvement with a 2-week intervention with or without NMES to the GMed in females with dynamic knee valgus.

Design: Feasibility study.

Methods: A total of 22 adult females with dynamic knee valgus (age = 21.8 [1.4] y, mass = 76.9 [18.8] kg, height = 1.7 [0.1] m) completed a 2-week intervention with NMES or a sham treatment superimposed to the GMed during all therapeutic exercises. Feasibility was assessed by recruitment and completion rate, while safety was assessed by the total number of adverse events. Treatment credibility and expectancy was assessed with the Credibility Expectancy Questionnaire. Mixed-measure analysis of variance were used for statistical analysis (P ≤ .05).

Results: Recruitment was completed in 5 months with 100% completion rate and no adverse events. There was no difference in treatment credibility between groups (NMES = 23.7 [2.3], sham = 21.7 [3.4], P = .12); however, the NMES group demonstrated a greater expectancy score (NMES = 20.0 [3.8], sham = 15.9 [5.1], P = .045).

Conclusion: Resistance training with NMES superimposed to the GMed is a feasible and safe intervention that resulted in greater expectance of success. Clinicians may consider superimposing NMES to the gluteal muscles when addressing muscle weakness in individuals with dynamic knee valgus.

Keywords: gluteal; therapeutic exercise.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Buttocks
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Resistance Training*
  • Young Adult