Original Article

Consideration of ways to generate hip flexion torque by using electrical stimulation: Measurement of torque and the degree of pain

Tomotaka Ito, RPT, MS, Akio Tsubahara, MD, DMSc, Yuta Seno, RPT, BS, Hiroshi Tokuhiro, RPT, BS, Susumu Watanabe, RPT, PhD
Jpn J Compr Rehabil Sci 2: 31-35, 2011

Objective: To determine the best method to effectively generate hip flexion torque by using transcutaneous electrical stimulation in a fundamental study to restore the motor function of those with disabilities caused by central nervous system disorders.
Methods: Eleven healthy men participated in this study. Isometric hip flexion torque and the degree of pain during electrical stimulation were measured to determine the optimal stimulation site. The interferential frequency was 30 Hz. The duration of stimulation was 2 seconds, which was followed by a 15-second pause, and this was repeated 3 times. The electrodes were placed at 3 different sites: (1) on the sartorius and the tensor fasciae latae, (2) on the sartorius and the rectus femoris, and (3) on the rectus femoris and the tensor fasciae latae. The maximum tolerable intensity was determined for each of the 3 methods. Then the lowest current was used as the stimulus intensity for measurements. The contraction ratio was calculated by dividing the torque value of each individual muscle by the sum of the torque values of all muscles.
Results: The contraction ratio of the rectus femoris was significantly larger than that of the sartorius. Significant differences were not observed in the torque values or the degree of pain.
Conclusion: Electrical stimulation should be applied to the rectus femoris at the lowest stimulus intensity to produce the largest hip flexion torque.

Key words: transcutaneous electrical stimulation, functional electrical stimulation, hip flexion, torque, pain

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