Content » Vol 49, Issue 2

Original report

Training and orthotic effects related to functional electrical stimulation of the peroneal nerve in stroke*

Tamsyn Street, Ian Swain, Paul Taylor
Clinical Science and Engineering, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, SP2 8BJ Salisbury, United Kingdom. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2181


Objective: To examine the evidence for a training effect on the lower limb of functional electrical stimulation.
Design: Cohort study.
Patients: A total of 133 patients >6 months post-stroke.
Methods: Training and orthotic effects were determined from walking speed over 10 m, associated minimal and substantial clinically important differences (i. e. >0. 05 and >0. 10 m/s), and Functional Ambulation Category (FAC), ranging from household walking to independent walking in the community.
Results: An overall significant (p < 0. 01) training effect was found that was not a clinically important difference (0. 02 m/s); however, “community” FAC (≥ 0. 8 m/s) and “most limited community walkers” FAC (0. 4–0. 58 m/s), but not “household walkers” (< 0. 4 m/s), benefitted from a clinically important difference. A highly significant (p< 0. 001), substantial clinically important orthotic effect (0. 10 m/s) was found. In terms of overall improvement of one or more FACs, 23% achieved this due to a training effect, compared with 43% due to an orthotic effect.
Conclusion: The findings suggest that functional electrical stimulation provides a training effect in those who are less impaired. Further work, which optimizes the use of the device for restoration of function, rather than as an orthotic device, will provide greater clarity on the effectiveness of functional electrical stimulation for eliciting a training effect.

Lay Abstract


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