Functional Electrical Stimulation

Wireless footswitch

Functional Electrical Stimulation, or FES, is a method of externally controlling muscles when signals from the brain can no longer control movement. This can happen after a spinal cord injury, stroke or neurological disease such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

A range of FES devices have been developed by Professor Ian Swain and his colleagues in Odstock Medical Ltd (OML) and Salisbury Hospital. Well over 10,000 have been sold in 18 countries through OML, which is the first NHS commercial company in England.

BU’s fundamental engineering research, including that of PhD students working in Salisbury, has been a key factor in developing these intelligent systems, which have improved the quality of life for patients with neurological       disabilities across the globe.

The most common application for FES is the correction of dropped foot. Stimulation is applied to the outside of the leg using self-adhesive electrodes causing the muscle to contract and the foot to lift.

The most common application for FES is the correction of dropped foot. Stimulation is applied to the outside of the leg using                  self-adhesive electrodes causing the muscle to contract and the foot to lift.