The impact of walking speed on the effects of functional electrical stimulation for foot drop in people with multiple sclerosis

L. Miller, D. Rafferty, L. Paul, P. Mattison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is effective in assisting people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) with gait. Previous studies have investigated the effects of FES in pwMS with slow self-selected walking speeds (SSWS). This study reports on the effect of the Odstock Dropped Foot Stimulator (ODFS) on the speed and oxygen (O2) cost of gait in pwMS walking at a range of SSWS. Methods: Twenty pwMS (mean age 50.4 ± 7.3 years) currently using FES walked at their SSWS for 5 min with and without FES. O2 cost of gait was measured using a gas analysis system, and gait speed was calculated. Data were analysed for all participants, and comparisons were made between those with a SSWS5and40.8 m/s (walking speed required for community ambulation). Results: Significant improvements in the speed and O2 cost of gait were seen using FES in the group with SSWS50.8 m/s (n ¼ 11, p ¼ 0.005). When participants’ SSWS40.8 m/s, no difference in gait speed was noted, and a significant increase in O2 cost of gait using FES (n ¼ 9, p ¼ 0.004) was noted. Conclusion: FES has a different effect on the speed and O2 cost of gait dependent on the SSWS of pwMS. This requires further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-483
Number of pages6
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Issue number6
Early online date31 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016



  • multiple sclerosis
  • functional electrical stimulation
  • gait speed
  • walking

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