Overview

In functional electrical stimulation (FES), computer technology sends low-level electrical impulses to activate specific muscles in your legs, arms, hands or other areas. The electrical impulses are sent to the muscles either through surface electrodes on the skin or through electrodes implanted just under the skin. The electrical stimulation can cause your muscles to contract, which may promote increased muscle bulk or muscle control.

Functional electrical stimulation may improve your range of motion, your strength, and the functional use of your hands, arms or legs. FES may help you perform activities such as grasping or holding an item with your hand or moving your arms or legs in a cycle or stepping motion.

Functional electrical stimulation may be used to provide exercise to improve your blood circulation, aerobic conditioning, heart health and overall fitness. FES can also help improve movement patterns of your muscles, prevent bone mineral density loss and reduce muscle spasms.

Functional electrical stimulation is normally used in combination with other therapy techniques, education and exercise programs. Your therapy goals may include improving how you perform your daily activities and creating a wellness program you can use at home.

Functional electrical stimulation for spinal cord injury care at Mayo Clinic

Jan. 06, 2015
References
  1. Ho CH, et al. Functional electrical stimulation and spinal cord injury. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. 2014;25:631.
  2. Carty A, et al. Increased aerobic fitness after neuromuscular electrical stimulation training in adults with spinal cord injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2012;93:790.
  3. AskMayoExpert. Who benefits from functional electrical stimulation (FES)? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
  4. AskMayoExpert. What is involved in treatment with functional electrical stimulation (FES)? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
  5. Riggin EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 17, 2014.
  6. Provider profile. CARF International. http://www.carf.org/providerProfile.aspx?cid=8020. Accessed Dec. 3, 2014.
  7. Litin SC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 4, 2014.

Functional electrical stimulation for spinal cord injury