Functional Electrical Stimulation F.E.S.

Can anyone help to clarify what it F.E.S is. And identify if a machine I’ve had for years is the same?

Over 10 years ago, there was an Electrical muscle stimulation machine being scrutinised by The Gadget Show. It’s meant to give better circulation and a sit down workout on leg muscles. It’s a floor standing, solid machine with options. If you put both feet onto the machine & switch on, pulses are felt on calf muscles & tingles up & down the leg. The less feeling we have in our feet, the higher the numbers needed on the machine to feel it working. There are additional self adhesive pads with slim wire connectors, to place on other areas of the body, i.e hips, thighs, shoulders.

My hubby has diabetes 2 & poor circulation. He finds the machine very effective. Does the machine I describe appear to be the same as F.E.S or totally different?

Chrissie x

Totally different Chrissie.

The FES is designed to stimulate one specific nerve, for most of us the peroneal nerve which is responsible for dorsiflexion, or the lifting of the foot when walking. It corrects foot drop (or drop foot!)

There are several different makes of FES, but they share certain aspects, one is that through the use of electrodes the nerve is stimulated by a battery containing control box. This may be attached at the waist, or in a cuff below the knee. Some of the FES devises use wireless technology so less wires are used.

It’s also possible to use FES to stimulate the nerve higher up the leg, or the buttock. Or to stimulate the nerves on both legs simultaneously.

Your description of your machine seems to indicate that it stimulates muscles, not nerves. Possibly more similar to a Slendertone type device.


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Cheers Sue, that clears my query perfectly.

Chrissie x


Sue has given an excellent description of a FES.

I was referred to the Neoro physio and tried one out for a week. Annoyingly it wasn’t suitable for me.

Some counties have funding for them.

If you’re interested then ask your MS nurse. It’s worth trying everything!!


Thanks Goldrat, I was asking what F.E.S meant only to compare with the ‘whotsit’ machine I’ve had for years. I don’t think I have ‘foot drop’ so F.E.S. doesn’t apply.

However, for those who do, F.E.S. sounds like a must have. Thanks again.

Chrissie x