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Do Capacity Coupled Electric Fields Accelerate Tibial Stress Fracture Healing

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Final addendum 15 Nov 2005-14 Nov 2006

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To determine the effect of capacitively coupled electric field stimulation on tibial stress fracture healing in men and women. Methods A convenience sample of 20 men and 24 women with posteromedial tibial stress fractures was recruited. Subjects were randomly assigned an active or placebo OrthoPakRegistered Bone Growth Stimulator sinusoidal wave, 3-6 V, 60 kHz,5-10 mA, to be used for 15 hours per day until healed. Subjects were given supplemental calcium and instructed to rest from training. Healing was confirmed when hopping 10 cm off the ground for 30 seconds was pain free. Data was analyzed using 2-way ANOVA for effects of treatment and sex on healing time. Compliance and other between-group differences and relationships were examined via ANOVA, t-tests and correlation analyses. The influence of anthropometric and behavioral characteristics on time to healing was evaluated by multiple regression analysis. No difference in time to healing was detected between treatment and placebo groups. Treatment compliance was positively associated with reduced time to healing p 0.003. Rest non-compliance was associated with increased time to healing p 0.05. Female subjects healed more slowly than men p 0.05. Capacitively coupled electric fields did not accelerate tibial stress fracture healing in comparison with placebo treatment modified rest, but women took longer to recover than men. Daily device use and weight bearing loading during treatment appeared to positively and negatively respectively influence the efficacy of the active device.

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  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medicine and Medical Research

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