Functional Electrical Stimulation – lower extremity

Functional electrical stimulation (FES), also sometimes called functional neuromuscular stimulation (FNS), is a technique used to elicit a voluntary muscle contraction during a functional task by applying low-level electrical current to the nerves that control muscles or directly over the motor end-plate of the muscle (just like a pacemaker makes a heart beat).

Neuromuscular electrical stimulation, or simply ‘electrical stimulation’ (ES), is a modality used primarily for strengthening muscles, without the purpose of integrating a functional task as done with FES. All three (FES, FNS, ES) basically focus on eliciting muscular contractions.

This module summarizes the scientific evidence on FES effectiveness in the treatment of the lower extremities post-stroke (FES of the shoulder and FES of the upper extremities are reviewed in separate modules). TENS and other therapeutic electrical stimulation that do not elicit muscular contraction are reviewed in other modules.

NOTE: Studies involving the use of medications such as Botox have not been included in our analyses.

Authors*: Émilie Comtois-Laurin, BSc PT; Catherine Kaley, BSc PT, BSc Exercise Science; Christopher Mares, BSc PT; Megan Robinson, BSc PT; Amy Henderson, PhD Student, Neuroscience; Nicol Korner-Bitensky, PhD OT; Elissa Sitcoff, BA BSc; Anita Petzold, BSc OT; Amy Henderson, PhD; Annabel McDermott, OT

Evidence reviewed as of before 16-07-2012

NOTE: *The authors have no direct financial interest in any tools, tests or interventions presented in StrokEngine.