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Functional Electrical Stimulation


Functional Electrical Stimulation devices are used to stimulate your muscles or nerves causing the muscles to contract. The devices can be used if you have difficulty moving and using one or more limbs due to a compromise of your nervous system. FES uses electrodes placed upon the skin to conduct small electrical signals to the nerves of the affected area. This signal causes the muscle to contract and enables the user to produce a more normalised movement. FES can be used as a short term solution as part of a rehabilitation programme to help increase muscle strength and power or it can be used for longer term assists in place of other orthotic devices.

If you are unsure if a FES device would be suitable option for you please contact us to discuss.

What conditions are FES devices often used for?

FES devices require both the nerve and the muscle to be undamaged to allow signals to travel and be received, consequently FES is often used for the following conditions:


This list of conditions is not exhaustive. If you are unsure if you would be suitable for a FES device please contact us to discuss.

Unfortunately FES devices are not suitable for conditions affecting the lower motor neurones including:


What are the benefits of a FES device?

FES devices can provide a variety of benefits including:


There are many benefits using a FES device to find out more please contact us to discuss.

What is the process to be receive a FES device?

The process to receive FES device would be:


The primary aim of the assessment is to establish suitability for a FES device. To achieve this your orthotist will use a trial device on your affected area to see whether your muscles and nerves respond appropriately to the stimulation. Some patients find the stimulation causes uncomfortable sensations or the electrodes may irritate and for these reasons do not feel FES is the right device for them. If this is the case our orthotists can provide information about other devices available.

If it is decided that a FES device will be suitable for your needs your orthotist will ensure correct fitting of the device and you will be advised of a treatment programme. We are able to provide physiotherapy to work within the treatment programme to ensure you get the most out of your device.

FES for home exercise

Rehabilitation programmes commonly involve an element of at home exercises which must be regularly completed. For some completing these exercises alone can be challenging especially if the difficulties are due to a neurological condition. Functional electrical stimulation devices can be used to help with at home rehabilitation exercises by stimulating muscles and initiating movements. At Orthotics UK we recommend the Odstock Microstim 2V2 (MS2V2) for at home exercise.

The MS2V2 is a pre-set device which has 10 modes of operation enabling easy setup and usage. The device works by increasing the stimulation at the beginning and end of each stimulation cycle, this pattern helps to produce a comfortable response enabling the user to get the best results.

What are the indications for use of FES for at home exercise?

There are many indications for using FES for at home exercise. These include:


If you are unsure if you would be suitable for FES for at home exercise please contact us to discuss.

What conditions is FES for at home exercise often used for?

FES for at home exercise can be used for a variety conditions including:


This list of conditions is not exhaustive. If you are unsure if you would be suitable for using a FES device for at home exercise please contact us to discuss.

What are the benefits of using FES for at home exercise?

There are many benefits that come from using FES for at home exercise. These include:


There are many benefits using FES for at home exercise to find out more please contact us to discuss.

What is the process to be receive a FES device for at home exercise?

The process to receive a FES device for at home exercise would be:


Your orthotist will undertake an initial assessment to determine your suitability for using a FES device at home for rehabilitation exercises. This assessment will include the trial of a device. If it is deemed that you would benefit from using a FES device at home your orthotist will set the device up for your requirements. They will provide you with information regarding placement of the electrodes and usage of the device.

FES for drop foot

FES was originally designed and is still most commonly used to support those who suffer from drop foot. Drop foot occurs when the dorsiflexor muscles do not work correct thus causing your foot to remain dropped throughout walking. This can cause difficulty with walking as you are more likely to scuff your toes and foot on the ground consequently increasing the risk of falls. To combat drop foot electrodes are placed upon the common peroneal nerve and small electrical impulses are sent this causes the nerve to respond and the muscle to contract appropriately. To time the impulses correctly the user wears a heel switch which is pressure sensitive, impulses are sent as the heel lifts off the floor and ends when the heel strikes the floor. This enables the user to walk in a more natural fluid walking pattern.

What conditions causing drop foot are FES devices often used for?

Drop foot or dorsal flexor weakness can be caused by a variety of conditions and FES can be used for many of them including:


This list of conditions is not exhaustive. If you are unsure if you would be suitable for a FES device please contact us to discuss.

What are the benefits of a FES device for drop foot?

There are many benefits that come from using a FES device. These include:


There are many benefits using an FES device to find out more please contact us to discuss.

What types of FES devices are available for drop foot?

There are a variety of devices that may be used including:


MyGait

MyGait is a wireless FES device from Ottobock. The MyGait comprises of a cuff (available in two styles; soft and original), a heel switch and a remote control. The remote control enables users to adjust to different modes as well as the intensity of the stimulation impulse. The MyGait is a two channel device enabling one channel to provide stimulation to the dorsiflexor muscles and the other to be used to target a secondary muscle group.

ODFS Pace

The ODFS Pace from Odstock Medical Ltd is a wired device which comprises of a small digital device which provides the stimulation impulse, electrodes which are placed upon the skin and a footswitch to be worn underneath the heel. These components are connected via a series of wires. A wireless variation of the Pace is also available from Odstock Medical Ltd.

Bioness L300

The Bioness L300 is a wireless FES device available in two sizes (standard and small for paediatric users). The device uses a lightweight stimulation cuff which contains the electrodes which is worn just under the knee, a gait sensor which attaches to your shoe and a portable control unit allowing you to adjust the level of stimulation.

What is the process to be receive a FES device for drop foot?

The process to receive a FES device for drop foot would be:


You will initially need to be assessed to decide whether you are suitable for functional electrical stimulation. If it is found that your muscles and nerves respond well to the stimulation then your orthotist recommend the appropriate device for your requirements. Once selected your orthotist will advise you on how to correctly wear the device as well as appropriate treatment plan. They will adjust the device to ensure the signals sent are suitable for your needs.

FES for lower limb application

Whilst FES devices are often used to help those with drop foot they also have a wider application for those with lower limb difficulties. Neurological conditions can affect the lower limbs in a variety of ways dependant on the nerves and muscles which have been compromised. FES devices can be adjusted to specifically target muscle groups and consequently help address a wide variety of difficulties.

What are the indications for use of a FES device for lower limb application?

There are many indications for using a FES device to support lower limb function. These include:


If you are unsure if you would be suitable for a FES device please contact us to discuss.

What conditions are FES devices for lower limb application often used for?

FES devices can be used for a variety of conditions, however it is important that there is no damage to the nerves or muscles to ensure the impulse can travel and be received correctly. Conditions include:


This list of conditions is not exhaustive. If you are unsure if you would be suitable for a FES device for lower limbs please contact us to discuss.

What are the benefits of FES devices for lower limb application?

There are many benefits that come from using a FES device to support your lower limbs including:


There are many benefits using a FES device to find out more please contact us to discuss.

What types of FES devices are available for lower limb application?

There are many types of FES devices available for lower limb application including:

  • Odstock Two Channel Stimulator (O2CHS)
  • Bioness L300 Plus
  • Odstock Two Channel Stimulator (O2CHS)

    The O2CHS is a two channel FES device which enables two muscle groups to be targeted with the electrical stimulation. This device can also be synchronised with a second O2CHS if three or more muscles groups require assistance. The O2CHS has a number of functions to ensure the stimulation occurs at the correct time during your walk including a delay function following the heel switch becoming activated.

    Bioness L300 Plus

    The Bioness L300 Plus enables users whom have weakness in their thigh as well as drop foot to receive the benefits of FES. The Bioness L300 Plus uses an additional thigh cuff to stimulated the muscles within your thigh as well as using the below knee cuff to aid with drop foot. This combination provides increased knee control and consequently improved stability and confidence.

    What is the process to be receive a FES device for lower limb application?

    The process to receive a FES device for lower limb application would be:


    Once it has been establish that your muscles and nerves respond well to functional electrical stimulation your orthotist will discuss different device options which will be suitable for your requirements. The different devices, although work in the same way, can be targeted differently therefore it is important the correct device is selected. It is also important that you are comfortable putting on, taking off, wearing and using the device. Once the ideal device has been selected your orthotist will make adjustments to ensure the stimulation is appropriate to your needs.

    FES for upper limb application

    Upper motor neuron lesions can impact the function of upper limbs as well as lower limbs consequently FES can be used to support those for whom this is applicable. Most commonly FES for upper limb application has been used for stroke patients who require assistance with motor control and those who suffer frequent shoulder subluxation. Working in the same way as to lower limb applicated FES devices electrodes are placed upon the targeted nerves.

    What are the indications for use of a FES device for upper limbs?

    There are many indications for using a FES device for upper limb application. These include:


    If you are unsure if a FES device for upper limb application would be suitable for you please contact us to discuss.

    What conditions are FES devices often used for?

    FES devices for upper limb application are often used for the following conditions:


    This list of conditions is not exhaustive. If you are unsure if you would be suitable for a FES device please contact us to discuss.

    What are the benefits of FES device for upper limb application?

    There are many benefits that come from using a FES device for the upper limbs. These include:


    There are many benefits using an FES device to find out more please contact us to discuss.

    What types of FES devices for upper limb application are available?

    Types of FES devices that may be used for upper limb application include:


    Odstock Two Channel Stimulator (O2CHS)

    The O2CHS is a two channel FES device which enables multiple muscle groups to be targeted. This is particularly useful when stabilising the shoulder girdle due to shoulder subluxation. By placing the electrodes on different nerves the shoulder muscles can receive electrical stimulation increasing stability at all times.

    Microstim 2V2

    The Microstim 2V2 is a FES device designed for use in rehabilitation. The device has 10 different modes to provide different parameters suitable for different rehabilitation needs. This FES device is simple to use and is ideal for use at home as part of a rehabilitation programme.

    What is the process to be receive a FES device for upper limb application?

    The process to receive a FES device for upper limb application would be:


    To establish your suitability for a FES device to support your upper limb requirements your orthotist will need to complete a thorough assessment. This will involve using a FES device to see whether your muscles and nerves respond appropriately. This will also help you to understand how it feels and whether you will be comfortable using the device. If your muscles and nerves respond well and you feel it would be a suitable device for your needs your orthotist will then explore the different devices available to you. Once your device has been selected your orthotist will make adjustments and provide you information about how to wear and use the device.

    MyGait

    The Ottobock MyGait is a functional electrical stimulation device for dorsiflexor weakness (reduced ability to lift the foot). The MyGait works by sending electrical signals to lift the foot at the right moment whilst you walk, this enables you to relax and have confidence in your own ability to walk safely and efficiently. MyGait comprises of two main parts, the cuff with the electrodes and stimulator and the heel switch which is worn within a specialised sock. The device is wireless and also comes with a remote control to enable the user to change modes as well as the stimulation intensity.

    What are the indications for use of a MyGait?

    The main indications for using a MyGait are:


    If you are unsure if you would be suitable for the MyGait please contact us to discuss.

    What conditions is the MyGait often used for?

    The MyGait can be used for the following conditions:


    This list of conditions is not exhaustive. If you are unsure if you would be suitable for the MyGait please contact us to discuss.

    What are the benefits of MyGait?

    There are many benefits that come from using a MyGait. These include:


    There are many benefits using the MyGait to find out more please contact us to discuss.

    What is the process to be receive the MyGait?

    The process to receive the MyGait would be:


    You will initially need to be assessed to decide whether you are suitable for functional electrical stimulation. If it is found that your muscles and nerves respond well to the stimulation then your orthotist will be able to introduce the MyGait. Your orthotist will show you how to don and doff the device correctly and will use a specialised adjustment tool to set the parameters appropriately for your needs. Once you are comfortable using the device your orthotist will advise you of a treatment plan for usage.

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