FES for Dropped Foot

At Neurolink Physiotherapy conventional Neuro physiotherapy modalities are combined with innovative and pioneering technology. We pride ourselves on having a holistic approach to each client's rehabilitation, accessing greater client potential than using single modalities in isolation.

At Neurolink Physiotherapy, we offer the most comprehensive and specialised FES service within the London and Surrey areas.

Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) is a well-established rehabilitation technique that involves using controlled pulses of electrical current to stimulate intact peripheral nerves. This can create muscle contractions in paralysed or weak muscles in clients presenting with upper motor neurone injuries in order to perform a functional activity.

What is Dropped Foot?

If you have sustained an incomplete Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or a stroke (CVA), or Cerebral Palsy (CP), you may have lifting your foot or leg when walking indoors and or outdoors. One of the crucial tasks would be to re-gain and improve the walking pattern.

You may struggle to clear a surface due to a drop foot which may cause a higher risk of falls and further injury. Having a foot drop can make walking more effortful and tiring due to the altered walking pattern.

Why have you got a drop foot?

Your injury or impairment may result in weakness to the muscle (called Tibialis anterior) at the front of the shin is not strong enough to lift your foot while walking. Fortunately, we live in the time where technology has progressed and more devices are available to assist.

How can I improve it?

The first option is using a plastic splint AFO (Ankle foot orthotics). Your specialist neuro physiotherapist will be able to assess you and recommend one of many mobility providers. The second option is FES.

Which device is best for me?

Some clinics only provide one FES device to trial. Here at Neurolink Physiotherapy we have the full range of FES devices available. We therefore offer the most specialised and comprehensive FES service in the London and Surrey area where different devices can be trialed in clinic with back to back appointments. This allows for us to compare the clinical assessment findings of each device before the most suitable device is recommended for home use.

Please see our news page for news on our next free FES open day and how to arrange an free trial appointment at our open days.

Single Channel Devices for Dropped Foot

PACE (wired)

The Medical Physics Department at Salisbury District Hospital produced the Odstock Drop Foot Stimulator (ODFS). Two small electric pads are placed over nerve supply for lower leg. The foot switcher in a shoe on the other side is targeted by body weight bearing and electric stimulation is delivered into particular muscles. Both electrodes and switch foot are connected with wires to the operating unit. For convenience a client may keep it on the belt and pressing the button on or off according needs.

The improved device is called PACE. It works on the same principle but has added more features so we can use it not only for walking. Different mode can be set up to perform a specific functional task like sit to stand or weight bearing with electrical stimulation into particular muscle or muscle groups. The exercise mode can be used for certain periods of time to help aid the strengthening of your weaker shin muscle. Your treating specialist Neuro Physiotherapist can help to set up the specific strengthening programmes for you.