European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 114, Issue 10, pp 2223–2232 | Cite as

Neuromuscular electrical stimulation via the peroneal nerve is superior to graduated compression socks in reducing perceived muscle soreness following intense intermittent endurance exercise

  • Richard A. Ferguson
  • Matthew J. Dodd
  • Victoria R. Paley
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

The novel NMES technique is superior to GCS in reducing PMS following intense intermittent endurance exercise.

Keywords

DOMS Muscle damage Muscle function 

Abbreviations

ANOVA

Analysis of variance

CK

Creatine kinase

CRP

C-Reactive protein

DOMS

Delayed onset muscle soreness

EIMD

Exercise-induced muscle damage

ELISA

Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay

GCS

Graduated compression socks

IL-6

Interleukin-6

LDH

Lactate dehydrogenase

LIST

Loughborough intermittent shuttle test

LFES

Low-frequency electrical stimulation

MVC

Maximal voluntary contraction

NMES

Neuromuscular electrical stimulation

PMS

Perceived muscle soreness

RBE

Repeated bout effect

SD

Standard deviation

TENS

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

TNF- α

Tumour necrosis factor-α

VO2max

Maximal oxygen uptake

Notes

Acknowledgments

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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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard A. Ferguson
    • 1
  • Matthew J. Dodd
    • 1
  • Victoria R. Paley
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Sport, Exercise and Health SciencesLoughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK

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