Functional Electronic Stimulation

FES is a treatment that helps stimulate the nerves that make muscles contract. This means that with FES, muscles that have been paralysed by a neurological condition can still be exercised and kept in good condition.

It works by giving a small electrical charge, which allows the nerve ending to cause a muscle contraction. It’s a little like reproducing what the brain does naturally in normal circumstances to make our muscles work.

Repeated use of FES can have a carry-over effect and help recover movement and function of otherwise paralysed muscles. All cases are different, but often an FES device doesn’t need to be worn all the time once recovery has been achieved, and for some there’s no need to carry on wearing it at all after the treatment period.

FES devices can also be used ‘functionally’ – helping people to achieve a movement or a task that they otherwise would not have been able to do. It can often help them to carry out day-to-day tasks.

At The Rehab Physio we use several types of advanced FES technology to treat a variety of conditions and movement difficulties:

Arms and Hands
  • Stimulate shoulder muscles to treat shoulder subluxation (a kind of dislocation) after stroke
  • Stimulate muscles in the upper arm to improve reach
  • Actively open and close the hand for those with poor or absent hand function
Legs and Feet
  • Stimulate gluteal muscles required for balancing on one leg during walking
  • Stimulate quadriceps and hamstrings for individuals who struggle to pick their leg up
  • Stimulate anterior tibial muscles to improve foot-drop

One of the most common uses of FES is to correct foot drop. Foot-drop happens when a person loses the ability to hold their foot up at their ankle joint – it’s a common result of neurological illness or injury. By using one of our FES devices, people are able to walk with much more fluidity and independence than before.

FES Cycling

Our advanced RehaMove2 machine is an 8 channel FES device that we can use as a bicycle, to maximize repetitions and demand for muscle building. The 8 channels mean that 8 muscle groups can be stimulated at once, so an individual can exercise, build muscle and train aerobically – something that would be otherwise impossible due to paralysis of their muscles.

The device can also be used in other ways to support specific exercise routines, such as sit-to-stand, kneeling-to-stand or arm reach.

RehaMove2 works particularly well with spinal cord injury rehabilitation, stimulating otherwise paralysed muscles and maintaining a healthy muscle mass.

FES available at The Rehab Physio

The Rehab Physio has many electrical stimulation devices to suit different needs:

  • RehaMove2 Cycle
  • Bioness L300 foot-drop stimulator
  • Bioness H200 functional hand stimulator
  • Walkaide foot-drop stimulator
  • Neurotech AvivaStim
  • Odstock Pace XL
  • Odstock Microstimulator
FES and treadmill training

Our GaitSens technology treadmill allows us to take immediate readings and feedback, so we can accurately assess how FES has improved a patient’s walking.