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Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy

Print version ISSN 1413-3555On-line version ISSN 1809-9246


NUNES, LCBG; QUEVEDO, AAF  and  MAGDALON, EC. Effects of neuromuscular electrical stimulation on tibialis anterior muscle of spastic hemiparetic children. Rev. bras. fisioter. [online]. 2008, vol.12, n.4, pp.317-323. ISSN 1809-9246.

OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated the effects of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) on muscle strength, range of motion (ROM) and gross motor function, among spastic hemiparetic children while standing, walking, running and jumping. METHODS: Ten children were divided into two groups of five. The children who were normally receiving physical therapy sessions twice a week had two 30-minute NMES sessions per week (group 1), while those who were having one physical therapy session per week had one 30-minute NMES session per week (group 2), for seven weeks in both groups. The children were evaluated three times: before beginning the NMES protocol (initial), right after the end of the protocol (final) and eight weeks after the final evaluation (follow-up). The evaluations included manual goniometry on ankle dorsiflexion, manual muscle strength of the tibialis anterior and gross motor function (measurements while standing, walking, running and jumping). The statistical analysis was performed using the Wilcoxon and Mann-Whitney tests, considering a p level of 0.05. RESULTS: There were significant increases in muscle strength, gross motor function and passive ROM of ankle dorsiflexion, in both groups, and in active dorsiflexion in the first group. No significant differences were found between the groups. CONCLUSIONS: The improvements in ROM, muscle strength and gross motor function demonstrated that the use of NMES was effective in both groups, since no significant differences were found between the groups. This study suggests that NMES may be a useful therapeutic tool, even when applied once a week. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Keywords : electrical stimulation; hemiparetic children; spasticity; cerebral palsy; tibialis anterior.

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