Note: This content is accessible to all versions of every browser. However, this browser does not seem to support current Web standards, preventing the display of our site's design details.


Functional electrical stimulation for grasping and walking: indications and limitations


M.R. Popovic, R.A. Curtis, T. Keller, V. Dietz

Spinal Cord, vol. 39, no. 8, pp. 403-412

This review describes the state of art in the field of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) and its impact on improving grasping and walking functions in acute and chronic Spinal Cord Injured (SCI) patients. It is argued that during the early rehabilitation period the FES systems with surface stimulation electrodes should be used to assist training of hand and leg movements in SCI patients. Our clinical trials have shown that a number of acute SCI patients with impaired walking and grasping functions could improve these functions due to training with an adjustable FES system to the point that they finally did not need the FES system to carry out these tasks. Other acute SCI patients, who did not recover the desired function, were enabled to perform either walking or grasping with the FES assistance. We believe that the subjects who can perform grasping or walking with the help of FES, and still use the neuroprosthesis 6 months after being subjected to the FES training, should consider the FES system as a prosthetic device in Activities of Daily Living (ADL). Despite the significant technical progress achieved in the last 10 to 15 years in the FES field, there is a general consensus that these systems are not sufficiently advanced and that they need further development. The limited acceptance of the FES technology can be in part explained by the fact that it is not completely mature and that the patients still require daily assistance to use the FES systems. Nevertheless the present FES treatments combined with conventional occupational and physical therapy still remain the most promising approach in rehabilitating SCI patients. In this review, advantages and limitations of different FES systems that are used to restore grasping and walking functions are discussed.

Further Information

Type of Publication:


File Download:

Request a copy of this publication.
(Uses JavaScript)
% Autogenerated BibTeX entry
@Article { PopEtal:2001:IFA_184,
    author={M.R. Popovic and R.A. Curtis and T. Keller and V. Dietz},
    title={{Functional electrical stimulation for grasping and walking:
	  indications and limitations}},
    journal={Spinal Cord},
Permanent link