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Walking

At OML, we have a range of treatments to help with you with walking.

Our flexible and holistic approach allows us to treat a broad range of problems and provide the right solutions as neurological conditions change.

Drop foot

The most common application of FES is for the correction of drop foot.

Drop foot, which is sometimes called foot drop or dropped foot, is a muscular weakness or paralysis which makes it difficult to lift the foot whilst walking. Toes may catch the ground, making it hard to walk and it can lead to falls.

FES is used to lift the foot whilst walking. Self-adhesive skin electrodes are placed over a nerve, called the common peroneal nerve. Small electrical impulses applied to the electrodes cause nerve impulses that pass down the nerve to the muscle causing it to contract.  

Stimulation is timed by a pressure sensitive foot switch placed under the heel. Stimulation starts after the heel is lifted from the ground and continues till just after weight returns to the heel, lowering the foot to the ground in a controlled manner. 

Our FES device is called Odstock Dropped Foot Stimulator (ODFS®) Pace. Find out more here.

Walking is made safer, faster and more efficient.


What are the effects of using FES for drop foot? 

The main effects of using FES are increased foot-lift (called dorsiflexion) and foot turning out (called eversion).

This leads to:

  • Improved ground clearance
    • Reduced tripping and falls
    • Reduced compensatory activity
    • Reduced effort of walking
    • Reduced spasticity
    • Increased walking speed
  • Heel strike with eversion
    • Improved loading response
    • Greater stability in stance
  • Greater range of mobility
  • Greater safety, confidence and independence while walking
  • Greater social interaction and improved quality of life 

Do you have more complex walking problems?

Odstock Two-Channel Stimulator (O2CHS)

This stimulator is controlled by a two-channel footswitch which assists drop foot and other gait problems, following an upper motor neurone lesion. It has the same functions as the ODFS® Pace but has additional features to control the interaction of two channels. This gives the device great flexibility.

The table below shows the commonly used combinations of muscles that can be stimulated with an O2CHS. In many cases a second muscle group is added to compliment drop foot correction.

If there are three or more muscle groups required, the O2CHS can be synchronised with a second O2CHS or an ODFS® Pace.

Stimulated muscles /groups

Conditions

Problem addressed

Bilateral dorsiflexion

MS, FSP and CP

Bilateral dropped foot

Dorsiflexion with hamstrings

Stroke and

MS

Dropped foot with reduced knee flexion

Dorsiflexion with gluteal muscles

Stroke and

MS

Dropped foot with hip flexion / adduction in stance

Dorsiflexion with quadriceps

Incomplete SCI

Dropped foot with quadriceps weakness

Dorsiflexion with calf muscles

Stroke, MS, CP etc

Dropped foot and lack of push off in terminal stance

Dorsiflexion with triceps / deltoid muscles

Stroke

Dropped foot with strong associated reaction in the upper limb

Bilateral erector spinae / gluteal muscles

SCI, FSP

Trendelenburg gait

Bilateral quadriceps

SCI, FSP

Quadriceps weakness

The timing of muscle activation can be adjusted so that a contraction can occur as weight is transferred on or off a footswitch or set to occur at other times in the gait cycle by adding a delay following a footswitch transition.

The device is used as an orthotic aid, replacing conventional splinting and also as a training device assisting gait re-education.