Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is a solution to improve your ability to walk if your central nervous system (your brain and spinal cord) has been damaged leading to difficulty lifting your foot when you step (commonly known as drop foot). There are a variety of conditions which may benefit from functional electrical stimulation such as stroke, multiple sclerosis and head injuries. FES can also be used to exercise specific groups of muscles to increase their strengthen or contribute to the management of spasticity.

For further information about the different devices please go to FES devices.

How FES works


Hooley and Tuke are certified suppliers from three leading Functional electrical stimulation (FES) device manufacturers, Ottobock, WalkAide and Odstock. We provide a comprehensive service involving assessment to ensure you get the most appropriate device, fitting and long term management. We provide a service across East Anglia from several accessible centres.

Functional electrical stimulation (FES) works by electrically stimulating the peripheral nerves and muscles in your leg directly, bypassing the damaged nerves in your central nervous system. The electrical stimulation is functional as it occurs at the right time to help your muscles lift your foot when you are stepping whether it is forwards, backwards, sideways or up and down steps. Functional electrical stimulation can also be used to exercise a specific muscle / muscle group either in the leg or in the hand. This can aid the reduction of muscle spasms / spasticity and improve muscle activation.

The Functional electrical stimulation (FES) devices we supply have differences in the equipment and set-up, however two of the devices use the same technology to achieve the common aim of improving your walking pattern: the electrical stimulation is triggered by a pressure switch under your heel which is activated every time your heel leaves the floor. The pressure switch sends a signal to a stimulator unit which delivers electrical current via electrode pads on your skin to the nerves and muscles below. Your foot is then lifted by your own muscles as you step. Users of FES find they are able to walk faster and further with their device as their walking pattern is more energy efficient, enabling them to enjoy leisure and social activities more like they used to. The risk of tripping or falling is also reduced as the toes are less likely to catch on uneven ground. Some FES devices are also able to stimulate other muscle groups which can help lift your leg through when you walk or help keep your leg stable when you are standing on it. The third device that we supply works slightly differently using tilt sensor technology pre programmed to match each individuals walking pattern. This eliminates the need for a pressure switch under the heel and external wires.


Exercise Mode for Home Use

In addition for walking assistance, all the Functional electrical stimulation (FES) devices include a pre-programmable exercise mode that allows a user to exercise his/her muscles while resting for a set period of time as prescribed. Muscle stimulation has the potential to reduce tone/spasticity and improve muscle activation and circulation.


FES example