A study conducted by Kessler Foundation scientists suggests that using a foot drop stimulator during task-specific movement for 4 weeks can help retrain the neuromuscular system. According to a Kessler Foundation news release, the study’s results indicate that the application of the foot drop stimulator as a rehabilitation intervention may facilitate recovery from the stroke complication.

Foot drop decreases mobility and limits activities of daily living, giving way to compensatory strategies, which study author Karen J. Nolan, PhD, Human Performance & Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation explains “have a negative effect on gait pattern. While use of an ankle-foot orthosis can improve speed and function,” Nolan says, “it is not designed to restore muscle function. We looked at whether stimulation of the peroneal nerve during walking would retrain the temporal activation of the tibialis anterior muscle.”

During the study, the release notes that four participants who were more than 3 months post right-sided stroke completed 10 walking trials (five with and five without the stimulator) at baseline, and after 4 weeks of using a commercial device, the researchers “found a potential training effect in all participants. These results indicate that use of the stimulator may facilitate recovery of muscle function.”

[Source: Kessler Foundation]