Aging affects the musculoskeletal system, which can lead to osteoarthritis, causing degeneration of the articular cartilage and consequently resulting in functional impairment among elderly patients. However, neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) training can be used as a mode of muscle strengthening.
To investigate the effects of eight weeks of NMES training of the knee extensors on the RMS/torque ratio of elderly persons with osteoarthritis.
Twenty-four elderly women were assigned into two groups: a healthy group (HE; n=12) and an osteoarthritis group (OA; n=12). The OA group was submitted to eight weeks of NMES training.
In the OA group, the RMS values increased from the pre-training to the post-training periods (p<0.05). The HE group did not differ from the OA group in the post-training period (p>0.05). Quadriceps torque was higher in the OA group in the post-training period at 90º of knee flexion (p<0.05) but the torque in the HE group remained higher than in the OA group for all the angles evaluated (p<0.05). The RMS/torque ratios increased in the post-training period at 60º, 75º and 90º of knee flexion (p<0.05), but did not differ between the HE and OA groups (p>0.05).
Eight weeks of NMES training resulted in a significant increase in the RMS and torque values of the quadriceps, but these neural adaptations were not sufficient to improve the osteoarthritis group to levels similar to the healthy group.
Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation; Osteoarthritis; Elderly; Root Mean Square RMS/Torque