Iontophoresis Denver, CO


Iontophoresis is a modality used by physical therapists to treat a wide variety of conditions, including bursitis, tendonitis/tendinopathy, and to help manage scar tissue. It uses electrical stimulation to help administer medication into your body through the skin. Contact Blue Sky Physical Therapy in Denver, CO to learn more about how iontophoresis can help decrease inflammation, scar tissue, or pinpoint pain areas in order to promote healing and improve your function.

How Iontophoresis Works

Iontophoresis works by applying either a negatively or positively charged solution to a patch, and then using electricity to push the medicine into your injured tissue. To understand the basic principles, a refresher in physics and chemistry class is needed. Ionic charges that are alike will repel one another. Therefore, if you apply a negatively charged solution to the negative end of the patch, the medication will be repelled, and pushed into the tissue.

Common uses for Iontophoresis

There are many reasons why a physical therapist would choose iontophoresis for you. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Rotator cuff tendonitis/tendinopathy
  • Subacromial bursitis
  • Golfers/tennis elbow
  • Pateller tendonitis/tendinopathy
  • Achilles tendonitis/tendinopathy
  • Scar tissue management

Your Denver Physical Therapist will work with you to decide of iontophoresis Is right for you!


Your Blue Sky Physical Therapist will determine which type of medication to use with iontophoresis, depending on your condition. Corticosterois, lidocaine, and analgesics may be used. Once your physical therapist determines which medication is right for you, the medication will be placed onto a patch. Your skin will be cleaned with alcohol and the patch will be placed over the tender or painful area. We will then use an electrical current to break down the resistance of the skin, in order to make it more effective in delivering the medication. This current only takes about 3 minutes. The medicated patch will then stay on for the next 18 to 24 hours, to ensure maximal delivery of the medication. You may feel some pins and needles with the electrical current, sometimes described as a tiny bee sting. If you feel uncomfortable during the treatment, notify your physical therapist immediately. Because we are trying to breakdown the skin resistance, do not be surprised if your skin is red where the patch was placed after the treatment.

Side effects and Contraindications

Iontophoresis is a very safe procedure, and typically the side effects are minimal. As previously stated, you may feel a slight pinprick tingling sensation when the electrical current is on. Some patients will develop a rash and/or breakdown of skin after the patch is removed. Please notify your Denver Physical Therapist if this happens and we will adjust your treatment schedule as needed.

Contraindications for the procedure include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Pacemaker
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Skin Rash
  • Skin Disease

Finding a qualified Denver Physical Therapist

Are you wondering if iontophoresis is right for you? At Blue Sky Physical Therapy in Denver, CO, we offer many options for helping with pain and dysfunction. Keep in mind, iontophoresis is a passive treatment and works best when combined with active treatment, including exercise for stretching and strengthening, as well as hands-on treatment including manual therapy.