Purpose: To assess the orthotic and therapeutic effects of prolonged use of functional electrical stimulation (FES) on fatigue induced gait patterns in people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Method: Thirteen people with MS completed 3D gait analysis with FES off and on, before and after a fatiguing 6-minute walk, at baseline and after 8 weeks of use of FES. Results: Eleven participants completed all testing. An orthotic effect on gait was not evident on first use of FES. However, therapeutic effects on gait after 8 weeks use were generally positive, including increases in walking speed due to improved neuromuscular control and power generated at the hip and ankle of the more affected limb. The action of FES alone was not sufficient to overcome all fatigue related deficits in gait but there was evidence 8 weeks use of FES can ameliorate some fatigue effects on lower limb kinetics, including benefits to ankle mechanics involved in generating power around push-off during stance. Conclusions: Eight-weeks of FES can benefit the gait pattern of people with MS under non-fatigued and fatigued conditions.Implications for rehabilitation In some people with MS prolonged use of FES may be necessary before observing positive orthotic effects. Improvements in the neuromuscular control of the more affected lower limb may develop with prolonged use of FES in people with MS. Only some therapeutic benefits of FES are maintained during fatigued walking in people with MS. FES may be considered as a gait retraining device as well as an orthotic intervention for people with MS.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|