The Clinical Practical Use of Functional Electrical Stimulation for Walking with Parkinson’s Disease

Difficulty in walking is a common problem for people who have Parkinson’s disease characterised by bradykinesia (slowness of movement), hypokinesia (reduced movement size), festination (rapid but very short strides) and akinesia (difficulty in initiation of movement and freezing in gait). It has been speculated that FES delivered to the common peroneal nerve could be used to help initiate stepping and overcoming freezing. Case series data has indicated that while freezing can be overcome with FES, the main effect may be to reduce bradykinesia, indicated by clinically meaningful increases in walking speed. This occurs after FES has been used and may persist for hours or days after the last use of FES. In the study 64 participants were randomly allocated to a usual care group or a group that received FES in addition to usual care. The treatment group used FES for 18 week and were followed up 4 weeks after treatment withdrawal. Feasibility aims included determination of sample size, recruitment and retention rates, acceptability of the protocol and choice of primary outcome measure for a subsequent clinical trial. While a fully powered study is required, the study’s findings support the hypothesis that FES my reduce bradykinesia and may be a practical and useful therapeutic intervention. In this webinar we will present the results of our feasibility randomised controlled trial and exclusively share with you the qualitative results from the study for the first time. In addition, we will provide a section on the clinical implementation and practicalities of using FES with people who have Parkinsons’ disease.
This webinar took place in the past. You may watch it online.


Maggie Donovan-Hall

Dr. Maggie Donovan-Hall BSc, MSc, PhD

Dr. Maggie Donovan-Hall has a background in Health Psychology and is an Associate Professor within the School of Health Sciences at the University of Southampton.  Her research aims to understand psychosocial issues relating to rehabilitation and disability into to promote a person-centered and user-led approaches. She has a particular interest in 1) the use and development of health technologies in rehabilitation (such as prosthetics and orthotics, functional electrical stimulation and cochlear implants), 2) understanding and fostering adherence to rehabilitation treatments, 3) improving and widening access to health and rehabilitation, which includes research in Lower and Middle Income Countries (LMIC). In collaboration with a wide range of multidisciplinary teams in the UK and Internationally, her work often involves the use of flexible and creative methods with both adults and children.  Her research and education activities are closely linked as she is the Programme Lead for a multidisciplinary MSc programme in 'Amputation and Prosthetic Rehabilitation' and supervisors UG, MSc and doctoral projects within this field. Maggie has supervised as primary or second supervisor 13 students to successful doctoral award and 34 students to successful MSc and pre-registration MSc awards.

Paul Taylor

Prof. Dr. Paul Taylor BSc, MSc, PhD

Paul Taylor is a biomedical engineering consultant clinical scientist who is current clinical, research and new product development director at the National Clinical Functional Electrication Stimulation (FES) Centre in Salisbury. He is an NIHR researcher and visiting professor at the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bournemouth University and sits on numerous scientific committees.

He has acted as chief, principal investigator and co-applicant in multi centre trials, investigating the clinical effectiveness of FES in stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord injury. He has developed a variety of electrical stimulation devices for the restoration of walking and upper limb function for people with neurological problems, from proof of concept, through clinical trials, CE marking to commercial production. He is a co-founder of Odstock Medical Ltd, the first English NHS Trust owned company and is President of the UK and Ireland IFESS chapter.


Dr. Gad Alon, Emeritus Associate Professor in the school of Medicine, Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, University of Maryland, USA

Professor Jonathan Jarvis, Professor of Sport and Exercise Science, Liverpool John Moores University, UK

July 20th, 2021 5:00 PM through  6:00 PM
Event Fee
IFESS members €0.00
Non-IFESS members €6.50