What are the benefits of peroneal functional electrical stimulation (FES) for the treatment of foot drop?

Updated: Mar 23, 2020
  • Author: James W Pritchett, MD; Chief Editor: Vinod K Panchbhavi, MD, FACS  more...
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Van Swigchem et al studied the potential benefits of peroneal functional electrical stimulation (FES) versus an AFO in regard to the patient’s ability to avoid an obstacle. [16] They concluded that FES was superior and that this finding was particularly relevant to people with low strength in the lower leg muscle.

Chou et al found that application of FES to the upper limbs as well was useful for abnormal arm swing in hemiplegic patients with foot drop. [17]

Bethoux et al carried out a 12-month follow-up analysis of a multicenter unblinded randomized controlled study that compared FES with AFOs over a period of 6 months. [18]  At 12 months, there were no statistically significant differences between the FES group and the AFO group with respect to either primary endpoints (10-Meter Walk Test and device-related serious adverse event rate) or secondary endpoints (6-Minute Walk Test, GaitRite Functional Ambulation Profile, and Modified Emory Functional Ambulation Profile).

Miller et al compared two different FES devices, the Odstock Dropped Foot Stimulator (ODFS) and the Walkaide (WA), in terms of their effect on energy cost and speed of walking. [19]  The ODFS yielded a significant increase in walking speed over what was achieved without FES, and the WA yielded a near-significant increase. Neither walking speed nor eenrgy cost differed significantly between the two FES systems.

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