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In post stroke gait – loss of ankle eversion can be a significant impediment to independent, safe gait as placement of the foot in a plantagrade position for weight bearing is lost. Loss of eversion may be seen in patients where tibialis anterior (ankle dorsiflexion) function is preserved and hip/knee function are within normal limits.
Functional Electrical stimulation through targeted stimulation of the common peronesl nerve can successfully modulate the effect of tibialis anterior, in effect, prepositioning the foot during swing phase for weightbearing and restoring weight bearing during stance phase.
Eversion is elicited by placement of the electrodes over the superficial branch of the common peroneal nerve to specifically target and activate peroneus longus & brevis, key muscles for ankle eversion. The accompanying video illustrates the effect of FES in providing eversion during swing and stance phase of gait in post stroke individuals.
Even short term use of FES for eversion correction can alter the gait pattern through motor facilitation – improving range of motion, ankle excursion and foot placement during non stimulated gait.
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