Thirty healthy, young adults (18 to 25 years of age), were volunteers in a three-group study to determine the efficacy of transcutaneous electrostimulation as a means of preventing atrophy of normal musculature on wearing a long-leg cast. Each group of ten subjects (five males and five females) were chosen by lot: Group I, nonisometric, Group II, isometric, Group III, TMS electrostimulated thigh and calf muscles. There was little difference in the findings in Groups I and II, and each lost an appreciable amount of muscle mass and power after just two weeks of immobilization. However, in the electrostimulated group muscle atrophy was one-half that of the other groups in the thigh area and one-fifth that of the others in the calf area. In addition, the calf musculature retained its bulk and power with actual increase in a few of the less athletic individuals. Trancutaneous muscle stimulation offers great promise for surgically treated or impaired extremities, enabling early return to activity with optimal function.
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