A condition known as ‘Drop foot’ is a common side effect from those suffering the aftermath of a stroke. For the patient, it means there is a problem in lifting the foot and toes properly which can affect walking and may lead to trips and falls.
The reason that this condition occurs, is because the muscles are no longer strong enough to lift the foot and toes or there may be spasm in the calf muscles. In some cases, Drop foot can cause the patient to hit the ground on the outside of their foot resulting in ankle injuries.
At Flex, we use physiotherapy treatments to help those suffering with post-stroke and other neurotherapy symptoms alongside a treatment called Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES). FES works by sending small electrical impulses to stimulate the muscles and nerves, helping muscles to contract and assist with achieving movements.
In situations of Drop foot, FES has been found to be very effective in that he peroneal nerve which sits just under the skin in the lower leg, is easy to stimulate
How does it work?
While there are other ways to receive FES treatment including surgery and mobile battery operated devices, the most common method of applying FES treatment is to apply electrodes to the skin over the nerves. It is important that electrodes are professionally applied to ensure the correct movement is produced for the patient. For the patients who undergo FES treatment for drop foot experienced the following (according to 11 independent studies):
- Improvements in walking speed and distance
- A more natural walking pater
- Improved confidence and independence
- Reduced falls
- Reduced muscle spasm
- Increased energy in walking levels.
Don’t just take our word for it, Pete Stephenson is a Flex Health spinal injury patient with limited movement from the neck down who underwent FES treatment to stimulate his muscles and movement. Pete said;
“ I feel more ‘connected’ with my walking and the circulation in my lower limbs has felt the best it has in years. There has been gradual improvement over the weeks in terms of the distance covered and the speed at which I can now go and I’m at the point now where it has become a good cardio work out too and I have noticed some muscle definition and tone improvements also”.
For Pete, and patients with many Neurotherapy needs, FES has changed their lives. Along with being clinically proven, it is recognised by many leading bodies as effective treatment including the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the Royal College of Physicians.
If you know someone we can help, contact the team today.