Has anyone tried the FES treatment for footdrop?
Was fitted with a FES about 3 years ago.
I would certainly say it helps with walking mainly the confidence that I won't catch my foot on the ground and fall.
I generally wear it everyday however I will say it can be an inconvenience to set up and turn on and off. I also went through an issue where the operation of it became intermittent which is actually worse than not having it as you think it will work and it doesn't.
Cost of mine wasn't an issue as it was prescribed on the good old UK NHS.
It's a bit of a weird sensation but one you do get use to.
I was concerned that I was becoming reliant on it, but my MS nurse assured me I wasn't and any help with my walking was a benefit.
Overall I feel it helps with my walking confidence, has reduced the number of falls and has sped up my walking ( although I still lag behind the rest of my family!).
Benefits outweigh the disadvantages.
I have used a Walk Aide for seven years now. I'm firmly convinced that my foot drop would have me not walking by now, without the Walk Aide. It's just makes things so much easier. There is a residual effect so I can walk well without it for three days or so, and then it becomes such a chore to get that foot lifted. Walk Aide was expensive, about $2,500 without any government help, but has been worth every dime for me.
I tried a walkaide, but I could not get it to work consistently. When I tried to get it serviced the 'sales rep' couldn't be bothered to fix it. It says a lot about that company that they only have 'sales reps' and no 'service reps'. I found a physical therapist (who also has MS) who showed me how to exercise my feet with a resistance band that strengthened both feet and I no longer have the problem with the foot drop that I had before- YAY.
I have used FES for the last 6 years on my left foot which worked really well. Over the last year my right foot started to misbehave and caused quite a few falls usually using my face as a break! I now have a bilateral FES unit which is amazing. Yes, it takes some time to put on every morning while getting ready for work but it is a godsend. I am a teacher and currently, looking at being taken through capability procedures to get rid of me, but that's to do with my brain becoming very confused and the MS getting ridiculously worse when being observed, but the bilateral FES unit is great. Luckily, living in Wales the NHS covers the cost. I can't imagine having to pay personally! 44 is too young to be retiring but it looks like that may become an issue forced on me very soon 😕.
When you've used your FES machine for a while you'll be so used to where the electrodes go that you'll barely have to think about it. To David Fowler, you say that the muscles become weaker but in many cases the muscles re-learn some functions (Muscles may become weaker anyway because of the MS!)
To keep the electrodes moist you can buy conductive fluid - the same as that used on Tens Machines and it's extremely cheap on ebay; I get 250g for about £1.50 which lasts months!
I use my FES machine every day & I have no musty odour from it at all.
The battery lasts for quite a while before it needs changing. Mine just takes a 9v battery which you can buy cheaply.
Again, in reply to David Fowler's comments, the cuff doesn't move about - it is adhered by the sticky electrodes. It couldn't keep moving about or you'd keep losing the use of it!