Matt Jaggard, Head of Strength and Conditioning with the Delgado and Lee Pro Tennis Academy explains how Compex devices can be used to prevent ankle injuries and how to optimise recovery and rehabilitation if an ankle injury occurs.
LinkedIn: Matt Jaggard
If you are an athlete of any kind then it is likely that you have experienced a very painful ankle sprain or strain. This is a highly common injury within court sport athletes. Compex can aid you by helping to prevent this type of injury from occurring and also whilst recovering if an injury has been experienced.
So how can the use of a Compex muscle stimulation device help?
First of all we need to take a look into the anatomy. This will give you a clear understanding of how the body works, what you need to target and why.
The peroneus muscles also called fibularis muscles or peroneals or peronæus, are a group of muscles in the leg. While the muscle group exists in many variations, it is normally composed of three muscles: peroneus longus, brevis and tertius.
These muscles help control key actions around the foot. They will need to be strong and robust allowing you to resist and control the very actions they allow you to perform. Something that the use of a Compex device can enhance whilst training. The reason that the use of Compex is highly effective with this set of muscles is that they are very difficult to activate.
So where are these muscles located and what do they do?
Strengthening and Injury Prevention
These muscles can be trained either statically or through a range of traditional ankle mobility, stability and strengthening exercises. This can be done by placing Compex electrode pads on the peroneus muscles and selecting frequencies between 45-70Hz. This will help to increase muscle volume similar to that experienced whilst training for hypertrophy by promoting optimised tissue formation.
Once a period of adaptation for increasing muscle volume has been completed, traditionally 6-10 weeks. It would be recommended that you move into a strength phase for a similar length of time. This requires your muscles to be exposed to frequencies between 75-100Hz.
Completing these two phases routinely will continually allow for the peroneus muscles to increase in volume and strength, making you more stable and helping you to prevent ankle sprains and strains.
Acute Injury Management and Rehabilitation
If you have experienced an ankle injury, the peroneus muscles along with tendons and ligaments around the foot and ankle would have been stretched, strained and damaged.
The use of a Compex device can not only aid with strengthen the muscles as highlighted above. They can also aid the recovery process.
During the initial phase of recovery, dealing with inflammation, Compex can help to reduce muscle soreness (1Hz). Additionally, muscle pain can reduce (5Hz) and capillarisation increased (8Hz). These varying levels of increased blood flow will help improve the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the damaged region. During this phase it is recommended to place the electrode pads around the site of the injury (ankle and foot) rather than the peroneus muscles unless major trauma has also occurred in this area.
During the second phase of recovery with Compex, the profilation phase, frequencies between 10-35Hz can help minimise stiffness. Muscular atrophy can also be minimised whilst helping to manage lingering discomfort and swelling.
Once the symptoms have subsided, just like with any traditional rehabilitation, it is time to start remodelling the muscular tissue within the area which has been effected. Firstly by increasing muscular volume (45-70Hz). Then by increasing strength (75-100Hz) which are both mentioned in more detail above in ‘Strengthening and Injury Prevention’.
We hear from Managing Director of Stronglines Physio Clinic, Fred Braithwaite, as he tells us how Compex assists them on their mission to rehabilitating their clients.
Compex is an awesome product. We have used it at Stronglines for years. We have used it post surgically, to facilitate muscle recruitment and to utilise eccentric overload without direct joint stress. We like it because it works and it fits perfectly into the rehab process.
At Stronglines we are very selective with the clinical intervention we use. Often products that physio’s use are trying to replace hands on treatment or apply some mystical powers to the area with very little clinical reasoning at all. Compex is NOT this.
Compex is unique in its ability as it is not trying to replace anything. It acts as an adjunct to accelerate treatment and allows the therapist and client to work together toward a common goal. It is the only clinical intervention that really facilitates active rehabilitation. Aside from it being the best in the market, it also has products available for both clinicians and clients. This makes it clinically relevant and applicable as the client can take home the benefits from using it in clinic.
We view it as a useful clinical tool to facilitate 3 main things:
#1 MUSCLE INHIBITION (see video)
- In the first clip you see near total involuntary contraction of the quads. The Compex is extending the knee joint almost entirely. For the client, it is uncomfortable yes, but it gives fantastic input and the benefits far outweigh the discomfort.
- Even if there is total 100% muscle inhibition we can fire it up and gain some afferent input as well as stimulating all muscle fibres to help prevent as much atrophy.
#2 NEUROMUSCULAR REPROGRAMMING (see video)
- The second clip is a patterning exercise, this a nice way to create or reinforce the engram without excessive load but offers a real challenge for lower limb control also.
- The electrodes are on the glute and quads in this
- Once the muscle is firing we can put it into a functional pattern and use Compex to turn the heat up on it.
#3 MUSCULAR CAPACITY (see video)
- The third clip is a squat to build capacity in the movement. The Compex creates a massive eccentric component which will bring on serious DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) with very little volume or intensity.
- The electrodes are on the glute and quads for this.
- Once the muscle is patterned we can build capacity with very little loading. Whilst the Compex is on there is little fatigue, but the eccentric component creates superb adaptation.
#4 ECCENTRIC OVERLOAD (see video)
- The fourth clip is an example of loading with Compex. Again you can use relatively low loads but yield high stimulus with Compex.
- The electrodes are again on the glutes and quads.
- Get the most from the protective and restorative effects of eccentric training using Compex. The DOMS from Compex are second to none! This means micro trauma, which means supercompensation leading to a solid recovery.
With all these benefits clinically, you can also use it to recover from sessions with the massage settings. That’s why we love Compex. It is so useful for all clients, from post-surgical, to athletes, to weekend warriors it has a huge potential application.
In these challenging times, many of our Compex Practitioners are still available to offer online or telephone appointments. To book a paid appointment please use the contacts below:
020 8372 5926
The Physio Clinic Bristol - Pete Tang
£25 an online session or FREE for any NHS employees
5 Valleys Physio
Contact: Geoff Twinning
Prime Performance Physiotherapy
Guy Rogers – 01949 485084