Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) is a treatment that applies small electrical charges to paralyzed muscles to improve mobility if you have difficulties with walking arising from damage in your brain or spinal cord. The electrical impulses work by exciting the nerves leading to the muscles and the stimulation is controlled in such a way that the movement produced provides useful function and is not painful at all. Self-adhesive patches (electrodes) are usually placed on the skin close to the nerve supplying the muscle; this is often over the centre of the muscle. Leads connect the electrodes to a stimulator that produces the impulses.
FES can be used to correct foot drop after a stroke and is sometimes used with additional muscle groups to aid walking commonly with multiple sclerosis sufferers. There are different devices on the market and we can advise on prices and what would be most suitable for you. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has declared FES as safe and effective treatment for foot drop.
An assessment by a health professional trained in the use of FES is required to ensure that the treatment will be suitable for you. The health professional will also teach you to place the pads correctly so the FES works as well as possible and that the equipment is being used most effectively.