TENS Unit For Ankles: 5 Reasons It Is Not Always Recommended

TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) is a popular pain relief treatment therapy. It uses a low-pulse electrical current (typically between 0 and 400 pulses per second) sent through the skin and into the muscles, creating a massaging effect that provides warmth and relief. 

TENS therapy is both drug-free and non-invasive and can provide temporary relief from acute pain. However, that doesn’t mean TENS therapy suits every type of pain. For example, it won’t be enough to manage chronic ankle pain.

The TENS Unit On Ankle Pain

TENS therapy involves placing electric pads on specific areas of the body experiencing pain. When activated, these pads send out small electrical pulses that create a tingling sensation. 

These electrical pulses stimulate the nerve endings and block pain signals from being sent to the brain, thereby reducing pain and relaxing the muscles. The vibrations can also help to relax tight muscles and stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. All of this helps to provide immediate pain relief.

Ankle Conditions That Can Be Treated With TENS

The following are a few examples of ankle conditions that can benefit from TENS therapy to provide temporary relief:

  • Ankle Sprains: An ankle sprain occurs when you twist or roll your ankle too far, overstretching and tearing the ligaments in the joint. This can be very painful and can cause swelling, bruising, and limited mobility. Ankle sprains typically heal on their own, but TENS therapy can help reduce the pain and swelling.
  • Tendonitis: Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons that connect muscles to bones. It can be caused by overuse, trauma, or various other conditions. TENS therapy can help reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffness associated with the condition.
  • Chronic Pain Conditions: Although TENS therapy won’t heal chronic pain conditions, it can provide pain relief. Because chronic pain isn’t consistent, TENS therapy can be useful for providing temporary relief when you’re experiencing a flare-up.

5 Reasons Targeting Ankle Pain With TENS Isn’t A Guaranteed Solution

Electrical stimulation is proven to be effective at pain relief. Despite being one of the more popular forms of non-invasive treatments, there are certain limitations that come with using TENS treatment for ankle pain; whether you’re receiving TENS treatment at a doctor’s office or using a commercially-available TENS unit at home. 

The following are the five main reasons why TENS therapy can’t be relied upon for long-term ankle pain relief:

1. Electrode Placement Must Be Specific

TENS therapy works best when the electrodes are placed directly over the area of pain. For example, in the case of ankle tendonitis, the electrodes must be positioned around the tendon and bone to provide adequate relief. 

However, this isn’t always easy to do with TENS because it relies on basic guidelines for electrode placement that may not be universal for all causes of ankle pain. 

Furthermore, it’s possible that the placement will vary depending on the individual and their specific condition. As a result, if you don’t place the electrodes in the right place, you may not get the desired result. This can be especially tricky if you’re using an at-home TENS unit since a medical professional isn’t there to guide you.

2. The Therapeutic Wavelength Is Limited

Commercially available TENS units for home use typically only have a limited range of therapeutic wavelengths, which means that they can’t deliver as many electrical pulses to the affected area as is necessary for long-term pain relief. TENS therapy, in general, can only deliver up to 400 pulses a second. 

At-home TENS units are even more limited and can only deliver up to 200 pulses a second. The reason it’s so limited is that more wattage is required to deliver an increased range of pulses, and at-home TENS units don’t have the capacity to do that. 

Although this may be enough to provide short-term relief from acute pain, higher-pulse currents are required to bring about long-term relief from chronic pain. This is because high-pulse currents can stimulate deeper layers of tissue that might be the cause of chronic pain. 

As a result, even with continued use, a TENS unit may not be able to penetrate deep enough to address the root cause of your ankle pain.

3. Therapy With Home Units Takes Too Long To See Results

Using a TENS unit for pain relief can take more than 20-30 minutes per session to see results. This is because the electrical pulses delivered by the TENS unit have to stimulate the nerve endings and muscles for pain relief. 

Unfortunately, because TENS units operate on limited wavelengths, it can take a while just to get temporary pain relief. If you’re experiencing multiple pain flare-ups every day, finding the time to undergo TENS therapy for that long isn’t very feasible, especially since relief generally only lasts for a few hours.

4. Long-Term Pain Relief With TENS And Medication Isn’t Guaranteed

Additionally, the primary effect of TENS therapy is that the low-pulse currents help relax the area being treated, having a massaging effect that can improve blood flow, thereby temporarily reducing pain. On top of that, these currents can help block pain signals; however, the moment you remove the electrodes, the pain signals start to return. 

TENS can also help stimulate the release of endorphins, but this is temporary as well. As such, TENS is similar to pain medication in that they do not address the root cause of the problem, they simply mask the symptoms. As such, they are not effective for long-term pain relief.

5. There Is Not Enough Proof That TENS Units Work In The Long Run

Although TENS therapy has been shown to provide short-term pain relief, there is no guarantee that it will be effective for long-term pain management. Countless studies have been done on the efficacy of TENS therapy on chronic pain conditions, and no consensus has yet been found. A few studies have found that there is some benefit, while others have found that there is none or that there is insufficient evidence to make a determination either way.

As such, it’s difficult to determine whether TENS therapy is effective in the long run or not. While many people claim to have seen positive results from TENS therapy, more research must be done to make a definitive conclusion. 

However, due to the limited wavelength at which TENS units operate (especially at-home units), it’s unlikely that TENS can dramatically impact chronic pain relief over the long term.

There’s A Better Way Of Managing Ankle Pain

Our Neuragenex protocol involves a Neurofunctional Pain Management approach, which means that we combine multiple whole-person treatment modalities to treat the root cause of your ankle pain. Like TENS therapy, our pain management solutions are drug-free, non-chiropractic, non-surgical, and non-invasive. 

However, unlike TENS therapy, our treatment solutions, which include electroanalgesia, nutritional hydration therapy, and lifestyle counseling, help provide long-term relief from chronic pain caused by various conditions, such as ankle sprains and tendonitis.


There are many forms of electrical stimulation, TENS therapy being one of them. However, we use electroanalgesia therapy instead. One of the main differences between the two forms of electrical stimulation treatment is that electroanalgesia uses high-pulse currents. 

Compared to TENS therapy, which tops out at 400 pulses a second, our electroanalgesia machine delivers electrical current at 8,300 pulses per second.

Electroanalgesia is much more effective because it can target pain fibers in the neurons, thereby reducing the intensity of pain signals sent to the brain. It’s also more effective at stimulating the release of endorphins. 

It’s worth noting that an at-home TENS unit can’t come close to delivering such a high electrical current because it requires a much greater voltage. As such, any electrical stimulation device that delivers more than 200 pulses per second isn’t safe for home use and needs to be administered by a trained medical provider.

Nutritional Hydration Therapy

In addition to electroanalgesia, we also use a form of nutritional hydration therapy as part of our Neurofunctional Pain Management approach. This involves injecting targeted nutrients and fluids into specific parts of the body to help reduce inflammation, stimulate healing, and provide long-term pain relief. 

We tailor our IV treatment to each patient’s specific needs by evaluating their bloodwork to determine if any deficiencies or imbalances need to be addressed.

Nutritional hydration therapy is beneficial for anyone dealing with chronic ankle pain since IV treatment can help to reduce inflammation around the ankle, thereby reducing any associated pain. Additionally, IV treatment can help to accelerate the healing process by providing essential nutrients and fluids that promote tissue regeneration.

Lifestyle Counseling And Patient Education

As part of our whole-person approach to pain management, we also provide lifestyle counseling and patient education. We believe that for any treatment plan to be effective, patients need to better understand their condition and how to best manage it. 

That’s why we provide our patients with information about lifestyle modifications specific to their condition, such as improved nutrition and exercise, that can help to reduce their ankle pain and improve their overall well-being.

Treat Your Ankle Pain Safely And Efficiently

TENS therapy can be helpful when it comes to getting short-term relief from acute ankle pain. However, if you’re dealing with chronic or severe ankle pain, the Neurofunctional Pain Management protocol is a much more effective solution. 

True electroanalgesia is more effective at targeting the root cause of your ankle pain to deliver greater, long-term pain relief than any at-home electrical stimulation device is capable of. 

Combined with our nutritional hydration therapy and lifestyle counseling, the Neuragenex protocol helps to better equip you with the tools necessary to manage your ankle pain effectively. It’s safe, effective, and designed to help you live a happier, more active life without the limitations associated with chronic ankle pain.

Treating Shoulder Pain with Neurofunctional Pain Management

With a sometimes undeciphered origin, patients experience shoulder pain at a level and frequency that quickly becomes unmanageable. While shoulder pain can be a result of several factors, at times the diagnosis of shoulder pain is not what matters to patients, it’s an option to relieve it. There are times when patients experience a level of pain in their shoulders that causes them to only care about the treatment for the pain. However, effective treatment depends on diagnostics and knowing what the problem is. As we have discussed in many articles, there are often many possible options, and sometimes co-morbid causes of pain a patient is feeling. If a patient has not been diagnosed properly it could be that the treatment options being offered won’t be as effective. Knowing the origin of the pain is important otherwise it is possible that the treatment they undergo will not only be less effective but counteractive to their condition. Understanding and educating oneself on the origin of shoulder your pain and the treatment options that will help the most is the most important part of the process.

For decades, physicians have been tracking the prevalence of patients seeking shoulder treatment. As early as 2005, Dr. Caroline Mitchell and her associates found that, “[s]elf reported prevalence of shoulder pain is estimated to be between 16% and 26%; it is the third most common cause of musculoskeletal consultation in primary care, and approximately 1% of adults consult a general practitioner with new shoulder pain annually” (2005). With that in mind, patients can be sure that as they seek treatment, they will likely know someone else who has suffered from or is currently seeking treatment for their shoulder pain.

Patients in search of an origin to their shoulder pain will often be met with several results to scroll through online. Before patients attempt to self-diagnose the condition of their shoulder pain, it is recommended that they seek the opinion of a medical professional. But, for the sake of helping patients understand the most common causes of shoulder pain, we will cover the most general aspects of these conditions so that patients will not only feel more confident in the knowledge they’ve gained but be sure that the treatment they choose for their condition is right for them and their specific condition.

One of the most common causes of shoulder pain, especially for patients who have not suffered a serious injury, is simply that they may have slept on their shoulder at a bad angle. This is typically the case for patients who are overweight and experience the height of their shoulder pain in the morning. If patients can determine whether their shoulder pain is a result of poor positioning during sleep, it is unlikely they will need a medical intervention or extensive treatment. If this is the case, it is recommended that patients attempt to sleep on their back or stomach, attempt to diet and exercise (especially shoulder exercises), and stretch their shoulders before bedtime. Patients who are able to reduce their weight are less likely to experience shoulder pain in the morning because the reduced weight lends itself to relieving pressure on the shoulder joint.

In somewhat of a contrast to uncomfortable sleeping positions that contribute to shoulder pain is the overuse of the shoulder. Dr. Mitchell explains that, “[o]ccupations as diverse as construction work and hairdressing are associated with a higher risk of shoulder disorders. Physical factors such as lifting heavy loads, repetitive movements in awkward positions, and vibrations influence the level of symptoms and disability, and psychosocial factors are also important”. When patients have a typically strenuous occupation that requires them to do heavy lifting, if they have exercised their shoulders in excess, or if they have not properly stretched the shoulder tendons before lifting, it is very possible they will experience shoulder pain.

At times, those who have not experienced shoulder pain may not recognize the seriousness or life-altering conditions of shoulder pain, especially when life calls for the patient to be physically capable. Dr. Deborah L. Greenberg explains the life-altering aspects with the following: “Shoulder problems can significantly affect a patient’s ability to work and other activities of daily life such as driving, dressing, brushing hair, and even eating” (2014). If patients with shoulder pain are incapable of even dressing or eating, can we really expect them to work under strenuous conditions.

Not unlike shoulder pain as a result of poor sleep, shoulder pain as a result of overuse is largely self-correctable and treatable without medical intervention. If patients are experiencing a level of pain that is unbearable when lifting heavy objects at work or the gym, it is recommended that patients stretch and prepare themselves before lifting those objects. If patients ever feel that a load might be too much for their shoulders to handle, it is imperative that they stop what they are doing and ask for assistance. If the pain persists in an occupational setting, medical intervention may be necessary. However, this is not always true, as patients who have strenuous occupations will often and rightly seek occupations that they know their body will be able to handle. In the end, a good rule-of-thumb is to listen to your shoulders. Not listening to your body’s signals will often lead to injury and a stronger need for correction and extensive treatment.

The misuse of shoulders will eventually lead to heavy strain and, typically, a spraining of the shoulder that is the third most common type of shoulder pain. In the case of a shoulder sprain, medical intervention and diagnosis will be necessary. This is not to say that shoulder sprains are always a result of ignorance or persistence on the part of the patient but patients who do experience injury are often refusing to listen to the signals their shoulders are sending. However, the shoulder is complex and if the origin of pain is not clear, that is not at all surprising. As Dr. Greenberg explains, “‘[t]he shoulder’ consists of a complex array of bones, muscles, tendons, and nerves, making the cause of pain seem difficult to decipher. Shoulder pain can be caused by structures within the shoulder or can arise from problems external to the shoulder”. Because of the complex structure and operation of the shoulder, the cause of pain is not always clear.

Dr. Greenberg claims to have found the most common cause of shoulder-related injuries and states that, “[t]he rotator cuff provides stabilization to the glenohumeral joint and contributes to mobility and strength of the shoulder. Disease of the rotator cuff is the most common cause of shoulder pain seen in clinical practice”. If disease of the rotator cuff is the most common cause of shoulder pain seen in clinical practice, this means that patients who elect to seek diagnosis and treatment for shoulder pain have likely experienced the pain on a chronic basis. In contrast, patients who experience a sparingly low frequency of pain, say from bad sleep positioning or basic strain, are unlikely to seek treatment from a clinic.

Those who have been diagnosed with disease of the rotator cuff will be curious to know the risk factors associated with their diagnosis and the possible pathogenesis of the disease. Dr. Greenberg continues to explain that, “[t]he prevalence of rotator cuff disease increases with age, obesity, diabetes, and chronic diseases that affect the strength of the shoulder such as stroke”. With the common comorbidities in mind, patients can take the first step in addressing their rotator cuff disease. While there are some risk factors that cannot be changed, patients can take action for others. For example, while patients cannot necessarily reduce their age or stop aging altogether, they can address their weight and assess whether their weight is contributing to the pathogenesis of their rotator cuff disease.

Once patients understand the origin of their shoulder pain, whether it is a result of rotator cuff disease or an isolated irritation of the shoulder, they can start to seek out the most effective treatment options. Neurofunctional Pain Management with Neuragenex is quickly becoming one of the most effective options for shoulder pain as it is a non-pharmaceutical, non-surgical, non-invasive, and non-chiropractic pain treatment program. Neurofunctional Pain Management uses a combination of high pulse electrical stimulation therapy and specialized nutritional hydration therapy to relieve pain and restore health. This category of pain management may quickly become the first step in the journey of chronic pain management due to the safety of the program. There will always be a place for drugs, surgeries, spinal injections, implants, and chiropractic care, however we believe that a genuine effort to relieve pain and restore health using the safe and effective protocols of Neurofunctional Pain Management should be the first option for patients. Given the choice of all the options available, patients and doctors would choose Neurofunctional Pain Management over all these other conventional options mentioned.

Neuragenex has created and pioneered the field of Neurofunctional Pain Management and has created a unique and proprietary treatment protocols that administers multiple aspects of therapy over the course of several weeks to treat chronic pain. Extensive diagnostics help to confirm the condition and to report success in the pain treatment effort and before and after blood work to report on the health restoration effort. The combination of high pulse electrical stimulation with concurrent IV hydration therapy is called Neuralgesia and works by sending high-pulse electrical stimulation to the affected region, depolarizing pain neurons and repairing damages vascular tissues and other tissues. When a patient experiences pain, it is a signal to the brain that something needs to be done, which triggers an inflammation cycle that also causes more pain. This is the pain/inflammation negative feedback loop that occurs with chronic pain conditions. Many medications and treatments are specifically designed to reduce inflammation in order to interrupt this negative feedback loop. However, even if a patient is unable to treat the condition on their own, the pain will continue to signal. As patients go through a course of Neurofunctional Pain Management treatment with Neuragenex, they may experience a very safe and effective version of interrupting this pain/inflammation cycle.

High pulse electrical stimulation interferes with pain signaling, eliminating the pain reporting cycle which in turn reduces the inflammation response. Specialized hydration therapy also reduces inflammation by hydrating the tissues and providing a dilution effect that helps to remove hydrogen ion concentrations in the inflamed tissues. These two therapies combined create a strong pain relief effect that may endure for a long period of time. All this while improving the overall health of patients will help create a longer pain relief effect than with just electrical therapy alone. The combination makes the treatment effective and since the entire process is safe for the vast majority of patients, it is an ideal first step in the process of pain relief. Ideally patients can get out of pain and back into a state of good health and effectively be able to return to functionality, improving quality of life.

Neuragenex intends to magnify quality of life as one of its core treatment models. This is a result of both pain relief and health restoration that improved the mental outlook of the patient’s chronic condition. Improved mental outlook is one of the greatest accomplishments in the process. If a patient can see a path to success their entire life can change for the better. Neuragenex is more than just pain relief, it’s pain relief, with health restoration and magnified quality of life through Neurofunctional Pain Management.