How to Use a TENS / EMS Unit for Ankle Pain Relief – Ask Doctor Jo

hey everybody it’s doctor Jo and today
I’m going to show you how to use a tens / EMS unit for ankle pain. so let’s get
started. so for the ankle pain I’m going to use the tens / EMS unit sent by healthmate forever.
this is their T24 and this is the one that I’m going to use. if you’re
interested in purchasing any of their tens EMS units, you can click on the link
up there. so I like using a roll underneath my ankle just so you can have
some movement especially when you’re doing the EMS part where you’re actually
making the muscle contract. you want to be able to have some movement in there
so you can do it flat on the floor, but I like having that roll it just allows you
to get a little bit more movement in there. so with a TENS versus an EMS or
sometimes they call it a PMS you use different electrodes and you can use
different channels. for tens usually the best way to use it is to use two
channels and four electrodes. so each channel has two electrodes. so the reason
that four pads electrodes are the best is because you can kind of encircle the
pain area and when you’re using four electrode you want it to cross. so if my
pain was maybe on the top of my foot right here, I would take each channel and
so there would be a pad here, one on the opposite side, and one here, and then one
here. so if I had you know a channel here and a channel here, then they’re talking
to each other this way and it’s not really getting the spot in the middle. so
you want to make sure that those channels cross. otherwise you’re not
quite getting the benefit of the tens unit. also with the tens you don’t want
to get a muscle contraction. this is tens, stands for a transcutaneous electrical
nerve stimulation. the transcutaneous part just means those surface nerves. so
this is to calm down the pain to help increase the circulation which is really
great for ankle pain because if you have some swelling, a lot of times ankle
sprains, strains, things like that, get a lot of swelling because it just follows
gravity and it ends up just hanging out on the foot. so a tens unit does a great
job of getting that increased circulation to get the fluid back out of
there and decrease the pain at the same time.
so when you’re doing that with the four electrodes or the two channels here, you
can make sure, I’m gonna say that my pains right here. some people might have
the pain on the outside of their ankle, on the inside ankle, especially if they
have sprains or something like that, so you can place them in a couple
different places, and I’ll show you if you want to get a little bit more
specific with the pain area – like if it was just here, but if your whole ankle is
kind of swollen and hurting, everything in there is kind of hurting, I would say
maybe do a placement here and here and then one on each side, or again you can
kind of cross the area just depending on where you’re feeling it the most. so this
is one channel, together with these electrodes. so what I’m going to do is
just cross them over. so I’m going to kind of place it a little bit almost in
the arch area, and then over on the lateral side up here. the further away
the electrodes are, the more just kind of general they get, and the closer you get
them together, the more intense the area is. so since it’s a small area, sometimes
I spread them out a little bit more just so it’s not quite as intense in the
beginning, and you can easily move these electrodes around as you go. you don’t
have to you know once you have them in one spot, you have to keep it there. so
again as you can see this one is here and here, and this one’s here and here. so
they’re crossing each other. so with the tens, you should not have a
muscle contraction. if you get the muscle contraction, you’re fatiguing out that
muscle and that’s not what the tens is for, that’s really what the EMS is for. so
with this particular unit the t24, it’s pretty cool because it has the twelve
channels but then it also has where you can do shoulder, neck, back, elbow, hip,
ankle, and foot, so if you just want to hit the specific one for the ankle, you can, but
if you want to go to the different channels you can as well. so a lot of
times people will say well which which you know mode should I use. there’s a
whole bunch of them. with a TENS, for me I think it really just matters about your
comfort level. tens is only supposed to really take
away the pain and help increase the circulation so all those settings are
going to do that. so you just pick the one that you like the most. some it’s kind of
a tingy, somes kind of a massage, some rev up and then go down, so I would just try
them all out and see which ones you like the best. so I’m just going to start off
with the first one. so you just press that and then down at the bottom is the
intensity level. so it gets pretty strong quickly, so I wouldn’t just sit there and
start hitting right away, even if you don’t feel it, I would just kind of hit
make sure it comes on, then you feel a little bit and then you can just start
going a little bit more as you go. so I wouldn’t go very fast because you
might not feel a whole lot. now I can start feeling a little bit, but I really
shouldn’t be getting any contractions or movements, so as I go I’m just starting
to feel a little bit more, and so you can see there, now that started to make my
big toe kind of move. so most likely it’s not necessarily super high, but it’s
probably because I have one of the electrodes over the nerve and that’s
just pushing especially with the arches it might be getting that tendon. and so
you can see that it’s pulling it down. so what I would do is I would just take it
back down, so you can start over and then that one that was contracting it, just
take it and move it slightly over somewhere else. so it’s not quite getting
that spot. so maybe right there, and then I would just go back into trying it. so
if you are getting that muscle contraction, I would either take it back
down, but then if you don’t feel like it’s very strong then I would move the
electrodes around a little bit. so now I can feel it again and I’m not getting
that contraction. so that’s really what you want. and so you can change the time
and it’s automatic so you can set it for 10 – 20 all the way up to 80 and then
it’ll automatically shut off when you’re done. so that’s really cool too. so with
the tens you can also just do two electrodes or one channel. so I’m going
to go ahead and take that off and show you. so let’s say you have a lateral
ankle sprain. so it’s very specific you’re having a lot of pain on that
outside area, and so you just want to get it on that
specific spot to get that pain taken away. well you can you can definitely do
that that’s that’s pretty easy to do, so with just two electrodes or the one
channel, if you’re having the pain right in here, you can either go one on top and
then one on the bottom here, or if that ends up catching some of those those
nerves and tendons, you can do it going this way. so you can go on the front here
and then on the kind of back behind it there. so again you might want to play
around a little bit. with the tens it doesn’t specifically have to be exact,
but you’re just trying to get it. so now it’s just going back and forth into that
place and when you have two electrodes versus four, it’s going to be stronger. so
you might only have to hit one. I’m already feeling it. it’s not you know
painful, but I’m feeling it more than I was with the four. so you know again I
would start off, so I wouldn’t start going crazy with it just kind of see how
it feels and how it goes. so for the EMS the electrical muscle stimulation, if
you’re having some ankle pain sometimes it’s from weakness and sometimes it’s
because the muscles aren’t activating. if you’re having a hard time pulling your
foot up, that’s usually that anterior tibialis muscle, that’s the one that
pulls it into dorsiflexion a little bit of aversion. so if I wanted to strengthen
the muscle to help get some of that pain to get out of there because it might not
be stable because of the weakness causing pain, I would put the electrodes
on that anterior tibialis muscle. so if you’re in the clinic they might take a
probe and really get those trigger points that they’re going to do it, but
again you can kind of move it around until you get the spot that you want. but
make sure when you’re using this to talk to your healthcare professional because
there are some injuries where you wouldn’t want to use this EMS or tens
unit, so make sure you’re asking that it’s okay because there are certain
things where you might not want to use it, or it may be if you have something
like a pacemaker that that’s contraindicated, or you’re not supposed
to use it for that. so the anterior tibialis muscle right here I would then
kind of put one up top here, the the longer the peroneal nerve kind of
goes around the head of the fibula here, so sometimes if you get right on that
that’s really gonna activate it, but for now I just want to get that muscle belly,
so I’m gonna put one about right here and then I’m gonna put one about right
here so. on this unit the 10 and 11 settings are the ones for the the muscle
stimulation, and I like it because the picture kind of shows a person lifting
weights which kind of indicates that you’re trying to strengthen the muscles.
so I really like that. so I’m gonna click on that one and then it starts moving so
you know that it is clicked on it. so same kind of things, start off pretty
slow because sometimes it takes a while to ramp up, so you might not feel it but
you really want to kind of go slow until you feel what’s going on. and then try
and get a contraction with it. so you want it to be very strong, you’re wanting
to get that muscle contraction, so it’s this is not going to be a comfortable
one though, electrical muscle stimulation is strong, it’s uncomfortable. you might
even go like this a little bit, but that’s what you want because you want
that contraction. so I’m just feeling it, I’m not quite getting a contraction yet.
as I go I’m gonna keep going a little bit more and it usually comes on and
then it drops off, so you want to wait till you feel it come all the way up so
you know how strong you’re getting it. so for this one I might not be quite on the
right spot because… there we go, see how it’s starting is starting to go into
that eversion a little bit, so if I wanted to get some of that dorsiflexion
to when it’s activating when I feel it pulling, I’m gonna come up and pull as
well. so I probably have it a little bit more on the everters than the anterior
tibialis, so what I would do I’m actually gonna take it all the way back down
because you don’t want to move it and then it pop right back up, so I’m just
gonna move it a little closer to the front, and this is what you might have to
do. you might just have to move around. again it’s not gonna be exact for
everybody because everybody’s muscles are in different spots, and so it was
pretty easy just to move it and then start taking it back up. so once you
start feeling that tingling, then keep going until you start getting that
contraction in there, and you know depending on what muscle it is you might
have to go bit higher. so there we go. I’m starting
to get it. you’re starting to see my foot go and then once it gets that
contraction, then it’s going to kind of drop off. so I always say go as much as
you can tolerate, that’s you know pretty high, and then if that’s as much as you
can tolerate, try and go one more because that’s what’s really gonna kind of pull
it up, and then relax. so you’ll you’ll feel it be able to do that. sometimes
people also say well you know how long should I be doing this? I wouldn’t do a
whole lot in the beginning because it’s really going to work that muscle,
especially if you haven’t been able to do it a whole lot on your own without
the assistance. you’re gonna fatigue that muscle out really quickly. so I would
just start with one to two minutes to see how you feel, and you might be pretty
sore afterwards. so again it might take a little while for you to get to the right
spot, but once you kind of know where it is then you can get it to the right spot
pretty quickly after that. so it’s great here to get that strengthening and then
it’s great with the tens to kind of decrease that pain and increase the
circulation which is good for the healing in general. so if you’re
interested in purchasing the healthmate forever TENS / EMS units, make sure and click
on the link up there, and don’t forget to subscribe by clicking down there. and
remember be safe (don’t have to high), have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.

15 thoughts on “How to Use a TENS / EMS Unit for Ankle Pain Relief – Ask Doctor Jo

  1. After 2 years of ankle pain I'm trying this seems to help. Ankle gout and achilles tendinitis pain isn't as bad

  2. hey i really need advice i suffer with swollen ankles from standing during long periods and it also get stiff any tips on how to take care of that and plus i do have a tens as well

  3. Purchase a Healthmate Forever TENS/EMS Unit here: (affiliate link).
    Want more in-depth info about TENS Units and/or EMS Units, including step-by-step color photos for a wide variety of placements all over the body? Buy my book here:

  4. My pain is up the back of my heel…swollen bursa. Should I place one electrode low and one a little above, up on my leg?

  5. Hello. Do you remove the electrodes from each other. Have the same effect as if the electrodes are close together.

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