Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)


Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) is a rehabilitation technique where a small electrical current is applied directly to a muscle or group of muscles that have been paralysed. It can be used to stimulate nerves in upper and lower limbs to enhance an individuals ability to function and live as independently as possible. It can be used to control/assist muscles involved in walking, cycling and grasping.


FES is used to stimulate peripheral nerves, the "lower motor neurons" that connect the spinal cord to muscles through the use of either surface electrodes or implanted electrodes.


FES uses:

  • Drop foot

  • Hand/wrist function

  • Relief of shoulder pain

  • Knee control

  • Hip control


An assessment by a suitably qualified Physiotherapist trained in the use and applicationof FES is required to ensure the efficency of an appropriate system for use by an individual.


Systems include:

  • Odstock Pace

  • Bioness L300/H200/L300+

  • Walkaide

  • Ottobock

  • Cyclone FES cycle

  • Vital Stim


In January 2009, NICE (National Institute for Health and Cinical Excellence) issued guidance that stated:

"Current evidence on the safety and efficacy of FES for drop foot of central neurological origin appears adequate to support the use of this procedure."