Neuromuscular electrical stimulation via the peroneal nerve is superior to graduated compression socks in reducing perceived muscle soreness following intense intermittent endurance exercise
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A novel technique of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) via the peroneal nerve has been shown to augment limb blood flow which could enhance recovery following exercise. The present study examined the effects of NMES, compared to graduated compression socks on muscle soreness, strength, and markers of muscle damage and inflammation following intense intermittent exercise.
Twenty-one (age 21 ± 1 years, height 179 ± 7 cm, body mass 76 ± 9 kg,) healthy males performed a 90-min intermittent shuttle running test on three occasions. Following exercise, the following interventions were applied: passive recovery (CON), graduated compression socks (GCS) or NMES. Perceived muscle soreness (PMS) and muscle strength (isometric maximal voluntary contraction of knee extensors and flexors) were measured and a venous blood sample taken pre-exercise and 0, 1, 24, 48 and 72 h following exercise for measurement of creatine kinase (CK) and Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity and IL-6 and CRP concentrations.
PMS increased in all conditions immediately, 1 and 24 h post-exercise. At 24 h PMS was lower in NMES compared to GCS and CON (2.0 ± 1.6, 3.2 ± 2.1, 4.6 ± 2.0, respectively). At 48 h PMS was lower in NMES compared to CON (1.3 ± 1.5 and 3.1 ± 1.8, respectively). There were no differences between treatments for muscle strength, CK and LDH activity, IL-6 and CRP concentrations.
The novel NMES technique is superior to GCS in reducing PMS following intense intermittent endurance exercise.
KeywordsDOMS Muscle damage Muscle function
Analysis of variance
Delayed onset muscle soreness
Exercise-induced muscle damage
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
Graduated compression socks
Loughborough intermittent shuttle test
Low-frequency electrical stimulation
Maximal voluntary contraction
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation
Perceived muscle soreness
Repeated bout effect
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
- TNF- α
Tumour necrosis factor-α
Maximal oxygen uptake
The authors gratefully acknowledge the help and assistance of Xin Hui Aw Yong, Joshua Ewens, Liam Heaney, Harriet Kent, Andrew Malley, Samuel Price, James Redden, Benoit Smeuninx and Benjamin Thorpe in undertaking the study. They also acknowledge the time and commitment of all participants who took part in the study. The study was funded by Sky Medical Technology/Firstkind Ltd. Additional funding was also obtained by the UK Technology Strategy Board.
Conflict of interest
The authors of have no conflicts of interest and no financial stakes in the products used in the study.
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