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Open Access Ice and pulsed electromagnetic field to reduce pain and swelling after distal radius fractures

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Objective: To examine the relative effectiveness of ice therapy and/or pulsed electromagnetic field in reducing pain and swelling after the immobilization period following a distal radius fracture. Methods: A total of 83 subjects were randomly allocated to receive 30 minutes of either ice plus pulsed electromagnetic field (group A); ice plus sham pulsed electromagnetic field (group B); pulsed electromagnetic field alone (group C), or sham pulsed electromagnetic field treatment for 5 consecutive days (group D). All subjects received a standard home exercise programme. A visual analogue scale was used for recording pain; volumetric displacement for measuring the swelling of the forearm; and a hand-held goniometer for measuring the range of wrist motions before treatment on days 1, 3 and 5. Results: At day 5, a significantly greater cumulative reduction in the visual analogue scores as well as ulnar deviation range of motion was found in group A than the other 3 groups. For volumetric measurement and pronation, participants in group A performed better than subjects in group D but not those in group B. Conclusion: The addition of pulsed electromagnetic field to ice therapy produces better overall treatment outcomes than ice alone, or pulsed electromagnetic field alone in pain reduction and range of joint motion in ulnar deviation and flexion for a distal radius fracture after an immobilization period of 6 weeks.
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Keywords: fracture; ice; pain; pulsed electromagnetic field; swelling

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong 2: Physiotherapy Department, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hong Kong 3: Faculty of Health & Behavioural Sciences, Deakin University, Australia

Publication date: 2005-11-01

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine is the international peer-reviewed journal published in English, with at least 10 issues published per year.

    Original articles, reviews, case reports, short communications, special reports and letters to the editor are published, as also are editorials and book reviews. The journal strives to provide its readers with a variety of topics including: functional assessment and intervention studies, clinical studies in various patient groups, methodology in physical and rehabilitation medicine, epidemiological studies on disabling conditions and reports on vocational and sociomedical aspects of rehabilitation.

    The journal is read by a wide group of healthcare professionals including specialists in rehabilitation medicine, neurology, clinical neurophysiology, general medicine, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers.

    Contributions from all parts of the world and from different professions in rehabilitation are welcome.

    ISI Impact Factor 2009: 1.882.

    Owned by Foundation of Rehabilitation Information.

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