What is Functional Electrical Stimulation FES

FES is a technique used to produce contractions in paralyzed muscles by the application of small pulses of electrical stimulation to nerves that supply the paralyzed muscle. The stimulation is controlled in such a way that the movement produced provides useful function. FES is used as an aid to assist walking and also as a means of practicing functional movements for therapeutic benefit


Judy Skinner runs an Outreach Clinic for Odstock Medical Ltd based at Salisbury Hospital. She is also able to offer privately funded assessment and treatment with FES


Who Can Benefit from FES?

FES can be effective where movement has been lost due to nerve injury / disease within the brain or spinal cord.  This is called an upper motor neuron lesion.  This includes people who have:

  • Stroke

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)

  • Spinal cord injury, T12 and above (SCI)

  • Parkinson's disease

  • Cerebral palsy (CP)

  • Head injury (HI)

  • Familial or hereditary spastic Para paresis (F or HSP)

  • Other conditions affecting the spinal cord or brain

FES can also be used in orthopedic conditions where muscle weakness is due to disuse or inhibition.


FES to Assist Walking

ODFS@Pace or ODFS@Pace XL (wireless activation) for Dropped Foot

O2CHS - Odstock Two Channel Stimulator for more complex walking problems


FES for Exercise

Using the Microstim 2v2, Odstock 4-Channel Stimulator , ODFS Pace on exercise mode

Electrical stimulation can be a useful form of exercise when there is insufficient voluntary controlled movement to make effective contractions.  By repetitive graded contractions of muscle, it is possible to have the same beneficial exercise effects as voluntary exercise. The main effects are:

  • Increase in muscle bulk 

  • Increase in muscle strength 

  • Reduction in spasticity.

  • Improved local circulation

  • Improved fatigue resistance

  • Re-education of movement

Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) for the Arm

FES treatment is provided for upper limb neurological problems resulting from stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury or cerebral palsy.  There are three main categories of upper limb treatment:


Subluxation of the shoulder

Shoulder subluxation is frequently painful and the range of shoulder movement and function are reduced.

The Microstim 2v2 device has been specifically designed to be used to exercise the muscles around the shoulder.  By providing overlapping stimulation from two separate channels, the first channel can be used to stimulate muscles that lift the humerus into the socket while the second channel takes over to maintain it in that position.  The electrical stimulation is very effective at reducing the pain associated with shoulder subluxation and where there is some voluntary movement, it can result in an overall improvement in arm function


FES Exercise to improve hand and arm function

Where there is some functional movement the treatment aim is to improve the hand and arm function.


Nonfunctional group

In most cases, if there is little voluntary function, it is unlikely that there can be significant improvement in function after using electrical stimulation.  However, electrical stimulation can still have beneficial effects.

  • FES can be used to relieve spasticity with the aim of loosening an over tight grip or elbow flexion

  • The main treatment aim is to reduce pain associated with spasticity, increase range of motion to assist with hygiene by enabling better washing or assist other activities of daily living such as dressing


FES using the PACE Drop Foot Stimulator

PACE Drop Foot Stimulator Set Up
Set Up with Microstim to stimulate forearm muscles
Initial response to Microstim to stimulate forearm muscles
Full response to Microstim to stimulate forearm muscles
Set Up with Microstim to stimulate finger movement
Set Up with Microstim to stimulate elbow extension
Full response to Microstim to stimulate elbow extension

Interested in finding out more?

Simply call us on:

07967 390686


Or use our contact form.

Where are we?

Somerset Neuro-Physiotherapy




Who do we treat?

Self-referrals are accepted.


Referrals can also be accepted from your GP or Consultant, Case Managers, Health Care Professionals, Solicitors, Social Workers, Carers, Support Workers or anyone else involved in your care.


The Practice is a Recognised Provider by numerous Private Medical Insurers.

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