Foot drop stimulator aids stroke rehab

The use of a foot drop stimulator during a task-specific movement for 4 weeks can retrain the neuromuscular system, ultimately aiding in rehabilitation intervention from stroke, according to a data published in NeuroRehabilitation.

“Compensatory strategies have a negative effect on gait pattern,” Karen J. Nolan, PhD, Kessler Foundation researcher, stated in a press release. “While use of an ankle-foot orthosis can improve speed and function, it is not designed to restore muscle function. We looked at whether stimulation of the temporal activation of the tibialis anterior muscle.”

Nolan and colleagues studied 4 participants who completed 10 walking trials more than 3 months post right-sided stroke – 5 trials with and 5 trials without the stimulator. Participants then completed 10 more walking trials after 4 weeks using a commercial device (WalkAide, Innovative Neurotronics, Austin, Texas).

“We found a potential training effect in all participants. These results indicate that use of the stimulator may facilitate recovery of muscle function,” Nolan said.


Nolan J. NeuroRehabilitation. 2014;doi:10.3233/NRE-141126.

Disclosure: The study was funded by the Kessler Foundation. Author Rakesh Pilkar’s fellowship with the foundation is funded by a NIDRR AART grant. Nolan is co-investigator for the NIDRR-funded Northern New Jersey Traumatic Brain Injury System and is a past recipient of a NIDRR ARRT grant in Biomechanics and Outcomes and a NIDRR Mary E. Switzer Merit Fellowship Grant.

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