Iontophoresis for runners: What P. Diddy and I have in common

After P. Diddy finished the New York City Marathon in 2003, he credited iontophoresis, or the use of a small electrical current to The iontophoresis patch transmits anti-inflammatory medicine to the site of my ankle sprain last year. transmit an anti-inflammatory medicine, with curbing his knee pain enough to let him complete the race.

I was unaware of P. Diddy’s experience before my doctor suggested ionto, as it’s commonly called, for my IT band two years ago, the first time I received this nifty, noninvasive treatment. I’m receiving it again now for peroneal tendonitis and/or an inflamed posterior tibialis (or, to keep it simple, a cranky ankle), and I’m optimistic it’ll get me over the why-does-it-still-hurt hump.

Here’s how the treatment works: A physical therapist fastens a patch with anti-inflammatory ointment to the spot on my ankle that hurts. Then, she attaches a tiny device that administers a low electrical charge for just a few minutes – since I use the self-contained patch, there’s no need to keep it hooked up to the device for long (another version of ionto uses a large machine to transmit the charge, and takes about 15 minutes). I feel a slight twinge — not pain, exactly, but a little sensation that lets me know something’s going on. I leave the patch on for two hours to let the medicine do its thing. Repeat, essentially, every other day for two weeks.

I like that this is noninvasive and basically risk-free. I like that I’m receiving the treatment on my ankle — since the muscles and tendons are closer to the surface there, my chances of it working are greater. I like that I may have the boniest ankles in the history of ankles for the same reason.

Finally, I like that it’s only one way I’m looking to attack the problem. I’m also doing several prehab exercises given to me by the therapist I worked with yesterday, an enthusiastic woman named Toni. Toni told me she embarked on a prehab program to strengthen her own ankles after multiple ankle sprains clued her in to possible weakness.

She gave me a TheraBand, and showed me how to use by pointing and flexing my foot in all four directions: plantar flexion, like pressing on the gas pedal in your car; dorsiflexion, pulling back in the opposite direction; and inversion and eversion, or pulling the resistance band from side-to-side.With the ionto and the exercises, it can only be a matter of time before my ankles are in good working order again!

Thanks to everyone who commented on my post about managing a runner’s stomach. My next experiment, thanks to your thoughtful and interesting suggestions (other ideas still welcome!), will be oatmeal and a banana. Which sounds pretty delicious, even without the run.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Iontophoresis for runners: What P. Diddy and I have in common

  1. ultrarunnergirl

    Cool! Gotta love technology like this. Wishing you an extra-speedy recovery so someday soon you can join us on trail!

    Kirstin

  2. sandra

    My PT used ionto on my injured hip last spring. It certainly helped in the healing process. I loved that I could wear the patch home and it kept doing it’s thing without me needing to stay in the office. Hope it continues to work well for you!

  3. Pingback: How peroneal tendonitis cultivates patience « Amy Reinink

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