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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering
SJR: 0.207 SNIP: 0.376 CiteScore™: 0.79

ISSN Print: 0278-940X
ISSN Online: 1943-619X

Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.2013007621
pages 149-160

Functional Electrical Stimulation on Improving Foot Drop Gait in Poststroke Rehabilitation: A Review of its Technology and Clinical Efficacy

Sukanta K. Sabut
Department of Instrumentation Technology, M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore, India
S. D. Bhattacharya
School of Medical Science & Technology, IIT Kharagpur, India
M. Manjunatha
School of Medical Science & Technology, IIT Kharagpur, India


This article presents technical developments in and clinical applications of functional electrical stimulation (FES) in the recovery of gait and motor function in poststroke rehabilitation. We review stroke incidence, stimulator design, brain-computer interface-based FES systems, and clinical applications of FES. Developments in different types of foot drop stimulators are reviewed, including hard-wired and microprocessor-based surface stimulator systems. The replacement of the foot switch by using artificial and "natural" sensors as the primary control in foot drop stimulators is reviewed. In addition, this review evaluates the clinical effects of FES applications in gait, motor control, and functional ability compared to conventional therapy alone during poststroke rehabilitation. The literature suggests the combination of FES and a conventional rehabilitation program has a positive therapeutic effect on the recovery of gait, motor function, energy expenditure, and functional ability in stroke patients. On the basis of our review, we recommend using FES therapy along with a conventional rehabilitation program in the poststroke rehabilitation process. In summary, this article describes the need for rigorous technological development, clinical studies, and collaboration between clinicians and engineers for FES systems. Future research would facilitate the design of costeffective FES systems as well as analysis of FES applications in stroke patients to optimize the rehabilitation process.

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