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Tammy Boucher, BSc. PT
April 06, 2021

Electrode Tips for a Successful TENS & NMES Treatment

Nerve stimulation is a painless procedure that can help many people accelerate recovery and provide much needed relief from uncomfortable or painful symptoms.  In order to achieve successful a TENS & NMES treatment outcome, proper use and care of electrodes is important. Did you know that proper electrode placement can make a huge difference in patient comfort and significantly affect the clinical outcomes? 


Here are our top tips to keep in mind when applying electrodes. 


1: Electrode inspection 

Patients using TENS and NMES may feel a burning or stinging sensation, known as "edge biting," due to uneven electrode contact or inadequate moisture. To prevent this, ensure electrodes are evenly moistened with hydrogel and firmly adhere to the skin. Pitted or dried-out hydrogel can create incomplete contact, leading to edge biting. 


2: Test different electrode placement areas 

For best results with NMES treatment, carefully place electrodes on the motor point of the targeted muscle. Adjust the placement as needed until the desired response is achieved. Electrode Placement and Functional Movement series, presented by Dr. Lucinda Baker,.   




To help healthcare professionals optimize their nerve stimulation treatments, OrthoCanada has launched the Axelgaard Academy, a complete training program on electrode placement that includes 41 video training sessions for you to view for FREE.



3: Understanding and caring for electrodes 

Become familiar with the various types and features of electrodes available. The selection of electrodes is crucial for patient comfort, adhesion, durability, and performance. Comparison Chart and Care Guide


To extend your electrodes' lifespan and effectiveness, it's crucial to store them properly. Always place the electrodes back onto the "ON" side of the Mylar liner, which is coated with silicone to protect the Hydrogel. Reseal the electrodes in their original package and store at room temperature when not in use. This helps prevent the Hydrogel from drying out. If the gel does dry, rehydrate it with a droplet of water. 


SHOP our complete selection of Axelgaard electrodes



Please refer to the following electrode FAQs for additional information or visit our website!



Electrode FAQs


How many times can self-adhesive the electrodes be used?

We are often asked about the on/off performance of our electrodes. The answer is very simple: the durability of electrodes depends entirely on the application, storage, humidity and care on the part of the therapist.


Do Axelgaard electrodes contain latex?

All products manufactured by Axelgaard Manufacturing are latex free. The company does not use latex of any kind in the electrodes or their packaging.


Are electrodes disposable?

Yes. When electrodes show wear and tear, or are no longer comfortable for the patient, simply replace them with a new set.


Can electrodes be used by more than one patient?

For proper hygiene, electrodes are intended for single patient use only. By sharing electrodes, you are subjecting patients to cross contamination. All electrodes are disposable and should be discarded, if compromised.


Is the gel hypoallergenic?

The definition of hypoallergenic is "less likely to cause an allergic reaction than other comparable goods." There is no scientific formula to measure or test this; therefore, Axelgaard’s gel is not labeled as hypoallergenic.


How do I apply an electrode?

Before each electrode application, the skin must be cleaned with water and soap to remove any lotions, skin oils, make-up, and dead skin. Any debris on the skin will be transferred to the gel of the electrode thereby compromising the integrity of the gel's adhesiveness. Therefore, a clean surface is the most important factor in the number of applications for an electrode.


How do I remove an electrode from the skin?

Always lift electrodes from the edge, NOT the lead wire.


Can I use hot or cold packs?

The use of heat or cold can damage the gel on self-adhesive electrodes and reduce their lifespan.  If used in combination with hot or cold therapy, electrodes with foam backing will provide a bit more protection to the adhesive gel against extreme temperatures versus electrodes with cloth backing.


How do I store an electrode?

After every use, the electrode must be returned to the "ON" side of the Mylar liner, and placed in the original, re-sealable package to prevent loss of moisture. The electrodes should be stored at room temperature with humidity at 35-50%. DO NOT: Store in freezer/refrigerator, leave in extreme heat, submerge in water, or leave outside of the package.


How do I care for an electrode?

After usage, if the electrode picks up small amounts of debris, you may use a drop of water on your finger to gently rub the debris off the electrode. Most important to the care of the electrode is applying it to a clean surface with each use. DO NOT: Use soap, alcohol, submerge in water, or scrub with abrasive material.


Where are Axelgaard’s electrodes made?

They are made in the USA.


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