Posts Tagged FES

[ARTICLE] The Use of Functional Electrical Stimulation on the Upper Limb and Interscapular Muscles of Patients with Stroke for the Improvement of Reaching Movements: A Feasibility Study

Introduction: Reaching movements in stroke patients are characterized by decreased amplitudes at the shoulder and elbow joints and greater displacements of the trunk, compared to healthy subjects. The importance of an appropriate and specific contraction of the interscapular and upper limb (UL) muscles is crucial to achieving proper reaching movements. Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is used to activate the paretic muscles using short-duration electrical pulses.

Objective: To evaluate whether the application of FES in the UL and interscapular muscles of stroke patients with motor impairments of the UL modifies patients’ reaching patterns, measured using instrumental movement analysis systems.

Design: A cross-sectional study was carried out.

Setting: The VICON Motion System® was used to conduct motion analysis.

Participants: Twenty-one patients with chronic stroke.

Intervention: The Compex® electric stimulator was used to provide muscle stimulation during two conditions: a placebo condition and a FES condition.

Main outcome measures: We analyzed the joint kinematics (trunk, shoulder, and elbow) from the starting position until the affected hand reached the glass.

Results: Participants receiving FES carried out the movement with less trunk flexion, while shoulder flexion elbow extension was increased, compared to placebo conditions.

Conclusion: The application of FES to the UL and interscapular muscles of stroke patients with motor impairment of the UL has improved reaching movements.


Reaching movements in stroke patients are characterized by decreased amplitudes at the shoulder and elbow joints compared to healthy subjects (16). The movement pattern of patients with stroke is highly related to their level of motor function impairment, which becomes modified due to the lack of inter-articular coordination (1). There is a decrease in the range of motion at the elbow joint with a tendency toward flexion, which avoids correct extension of the upper limb (UL), hampering the ability to perform appropriate reaching movements. Excessive shoulder abduction is also observed as a compensatory movement when there is a lack of appropriate shoulder flexion (7).

In the case of the trunk, greater trunk displacements have been observed in patients with stroke, forward displacements, and torsion movements, which are related to deficits in elbow extension, and shoulder flexion and adduction, as compensatory mechanisms that occur during reaching movements or other activity. Patients are able to develop new motor strategies to achieve their goal despite UL deficits (17). There is a greater involvement of the trunk and scapula during the execution of reaching movements due to the creation of new movement strategies to compensate for the deficiencies (8).

The scientific literature has shown that stroke patients need to create new movement strategies. This involves the development of pathological synergies to carry out the desired movements. An example of this is the excessive movements of the trunk and scapula to compensate the deficiencies resulting from the pathology (7). Proper activation of the interscapular muscles depends on the position of the trunk. Stroke patients, due to the deficits affecting their trunk and scapular movement patterns, are under unfavorable conditions for being able to perform appropriate and selective activation of these muscles, which has a negative impact on the movement of the UL (911).

Regarding the UL muscles involved in reaching movements, a deficit in muscle control and activation has been observed (51213). The synergistic contraction of the shoulder flexor and extensor muscles during reach becomes deteriorated due to muscle weakness and; therefore, the resulting movement is deficient (14). Furthermore, spastic muscle patterns may also prevent the correct performance of UL movements (1518).

Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is a form of treatment that seeks to activate the paretic muscles using short-duration electrical pulses applied via surface electrodes through the skin (19). The use of FES and neuroprostheses has spanned almost four decades (2021). The use of FES as a neuroprosthesis consists of self-treatment at home by means of a neuroprosthetic neuromuscular stimulation system. The objective of this modality is to assist the performance of an activity of daily living (ADL) (22). Recently, functional and clinical improvements have been reported with the therapeutic application of FES, in which stimulation was used to increase voluntary movement after stroke (2223). Therapeutic FES modalities have been used to recruit UL muscles, improving weakness, the dyscoordination of single and multiple joints movements, and spasticity (24).

Most studies employing therapeutic FES for paretic UL rehabilitation are based on stimulation of the shoulder, elbow, and wrist muscles without recruitment of the interscapular muscles (2528). The importance of an appropriate and specific contraction of the interscapular musculature during UL movement is necessary to adapt the position of the scapulothoracic joint to the degree of movement of the glenohumeral joint. This musculature has a stabilizing function upon the entire glenohumeral complex, which is necessary for a correct reaching movement (2931). In healthy subjects, the posture of the trunk has been shown to influence changes in scapular movement and interscapular muscle activity during UL elevation (2932). The motor control of shoulder movement influences the correct and proper activation and synchronization of these muscles (33).

In this study, we tested the ability of a FES system to assist the UL movement of stroke patients based on the stimulation of interscapular, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and finger muscles. To our knowledge, no empirical study to date directly addresses this question. The authors hypothesized that participants receiving FES to the UL and interscapular muscles would be able to perform the movement with less trunk anteroposterior tilt and major shoulder flexion and elbow extension. The aim of this feasibility study was to evaluate whether the application of FES to the UL and interscapular muscles of stroke patients with UL motor impairment would be able to modify their reaching patterns, measured using instrumental movement analysis systems.[…]

Continue —> Frontiers | The Use of Functional Electrical Stimulation on the Upper Limb and Interscapular Muscles of Patients with Stroke for the Improvement of Reaching Movements: A Feasibility Study | Neurology

Figure 1. Patient with the functional electrical stimulation device.

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[VIDEO] Difference Between EMS Electrical Muscle Stimulation and TENS – YouTube

TENS vs EMS: the main difference between the two: TENS stimulates the nerves – the rationale being that the simulation keeps pain signals from reaching the brain. EMS causes the muscles to contract – by mimicking the action potential that comes from the central nervous system.Muscle Stimulation EMS stands for electronic muscle stimulation. These units are designed to provide relief by stimulating the muscles …Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulators (TENS) use electrotherapy to stimulate the nerves and active therapeutic healing. Electronic Muscle Stimulators (EMS), on the other hand, sends electric impulses that cause muscle contraction.EMS, or Electrical Muscle Stimulation, is the use of electrical pulses to generate a muscle contraction. EMS is typically used to enhance muscle …Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation for Skeletal Muscle Function … nerve stimulation (TENS), and functional electrical stimulation (FES). ….. withdrawal of ES are present across different types of applications, such as …EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation) vs TENS. EMS or Electrical Muscle Stimulation, which is also referred to as neuromuscular electrical …The biggest difference between TENS and EMS is that TENS is designed to stimulate … The electrical muscle stimulation of an EMS device induces muscle …A TENS unit stimulates the nerve endings while the EMS unit stimulates the muscles. Amazingly enough, electrical stimulation of the nerves dates back to ancient Rome … pain reduction begins to last longer and the time between sessions lengthens. … The EMS units are specifically used to prevent atrophied muscles or for …Whether looking for a tool to boost your fitness and strength or recover from an injury quickly, electric muscle stimulation (EMS or NMES) can …

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[WEB SITE] Stroke rehabilitation device lets the patient do the shocking


When a person’s arm has become paralyzed due to a stroke, therapists often try to get it moving again using what’s known as functional electrical stimulation – this involves delivering electric shocks to the arm, causing its muscles to move. Studies have shown, however, that it works better when the patient is in charge of delivering those shocks themselves. A new device lets them do so, and it has met with promising results.

The system was developed by Intento, a company affiliated with Switzerland’s EPFL research institute. It consists of three parts: electrodes that the patient places on their arm, a controller that is operated by their “good” hand, and a tablet running custom software.

The therapist starts by selecting a desired arm movement on the tablet, and then loading it into the controller. A display on the tablet’s screen then shows the patient where the electrodes should be placed. Once those are attached, the patient sets about using the controller to deliver shocks to their arm muscles, resulting in the targeted movement – this could be something like pressing a button or picking up an object.

Ideally, once the action has been repeated enough times, the muscles will be “trained” and it will be possible for the patient to perform the movement without any external stimulation.

In a clinical trial performed at Lausanne University Hospital, 11 severely stroke-paralyzed patients – for whom other therapies hadn’t worked – used for the device for 1.5-hour daily sessions, over a course of 10 days. A claimed 70 percent of them subsequently “showed a significant improvement in their motor functions,” as opposed to just 30 percent who were undergoing conventional occupational therapy.

A larger clinical study is now being planned, after which the device will hopefully be commercialized. The research is described in a paper that was recently published in the journal Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Source: EPFL

Source: Stroke rehabilitation device lets the patient do the shocking


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[BLOG POST] Stroke, MS patients walk significantly better with neural stimulation

Robert Bush has multiple sclerosis (MS), which sapped his ability to walk five years ago. Joseph McGlynn suffered a stroke that seriously impaired his left side, also five years ago.

Using technology designed by Case Western Reserve University and the Advanced Platform Technology and Functional Electrical Stimulation centers at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the two men got their feet back under them.

Two studies, published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, show that functional electrical stimulation (FES) significantly helped McGlynn and Bush to effectively walk at the medical center.

“I went in there and I could barely take two steps,” said Bush, 42, who researchers believe is the world’s first MS patient to “test-drive” an implanted FES system. The proof-of-feasibility test lasted 90 days. “At the end,” said Bush, of Columbus, Ohio, “I was walking down the hallway. To me, it was monumental.” A video of him walking with and without the system can be found at:

McGlynn, 69, of North Royalton, Ohio, could walk with a cane, but not easily. With the technology switched on, he covered far more ground and his pace was twice as fast during his 30-week study.

“It’s helped with balance and confidence,” said McGlynn, who used to tread a lot of stairs maintaining equipment at a steel plant. “I’m confident now that I can walk without stumbling and falling.” A video of him walking with and without aid of the system can be found here:

Nathan Makowski, an investigator at the Cleveland FES Center, created by Case Western Reserve and the Cleveland VA, said that FES technology has been used primarily for therapy in stroke patients in the past. “This, though, is a more long-term assistive system,” he said.

Addressing needs

The researchers hope these studies will lay the foundation for implanted systems that restore some independence to people with MS or who have suffered a stroke.

Their numbers are substantial. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates that more than 2.3 million people have the disease worldwide. Surveys have found that 93 percent suffer gait impairment within 10 years of diagnosis and 13 percent report they are unable to walk twice a week. Other research has found that 6 million to 7 million people live with stroke nationally and nearly 30 percent require assistance to walk.

“In both cases, there is a disconnect between the brain and muscles,” said Stephen Selkirk, MD, a neurologist at the VA’s Spinal Cord Injury Division and assistant professor of neurology at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. “This system replaces the lost connection.”

The system includes implanted electrodes that tie into nerves that control muscles collectively, called hip and knee flexors and ankle dorsoflexors. In healthy people, the muscles work in seamless coordination each step they take.

When Bush or McGlynn walks, he pushes a button on an external controller, which sends signals to a pulse generator, which then sends electrical pulses to the electrodes. The pulses stimulate the nerves, which in turn stimulate the muscles in both of Bush’s legs and McGlynn’s left leg.

“Both guys were taking steps the first time we turned the systems on,” said Ron Triolo, a professor of orthopaedics and biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve and executive director of the Advanced Platform Technology (APT) Center. “When Robert Bush took a step, it wasn’t’ pretty, but we saw the potential.”

In each patient, “the pulses are sent in a pattern that is close to how normal muscles work,” said Rudi Kobetic, a principal investigator at the Stokes Cleveland VA and APT Center. “We try to time the pattern to stimulation so that it’s integrated with their ability. Similar to regular physical therapy, we can see results.”

Significant improvement

Both men gained strength and endurance through repeated use of the systems and fine-tuning by the researchers.

Bush went from the two steps to consistently walking more than 30 yards during the trial. In that time, he used a walker to help maintain his balance.

“When they turned it on the first time, I was surprised how well it worked,” said Bush, who had to give up his construction career due to the disease. “I lifted my knee like I was high-stepping. Once we got it fine-tuned and I got walking, I thought it was amazing. I still think it’s amazing.”

McGlynn’s gait became noticeably more symmetrical and energetic, the researchers said. His gait without the system was about 19 yards per minute; with the system, 47 yards per minute. Training with the system improved McGlynn’s speed when it was turned off to 23 yards per minute, indicating therapeutic benefit.

“Distance is a challenge,” he said. Initially, he could walk 83 yards but improved to 1,550 yards–nearly a mile–at the faster gait. “I work up a good sweat and that makes me feel good,” he said.

Due to his improvements, the research team is developing a system that McGlynn can use at home and outside.

“I’ll be able to walk for exercise and hopefully be able to walk into church and into a restaurant,” McGlynn said.

When Bush’s trial ended, surgeons removed his implanted electrodes. The researchers are seeking funding to fit him with a permanent FES system in a clinical trial.

In the meantime, Bush is now back to using a wheelchair but working to maintain his strength and flexibility, repeatedly standing and sitting while holding onto a rail or standing for long periods of time. “I’m keeping things ready for when they get the green light,” he said.


Other researchers who contributed to the two studies are the APT Center’s Lisa Lombardo, physical therapist; Kevin Foglyano, biomedical engineer; and Gilles Pinault, MD, a surgeon and co-director of the center.

Source: Stroke, MS patients walk significantly better with neural stimulation | EurekAlert! Science News

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[Abstract] Electrically Assisted Movement Therapy in Chronic Stroke Patients With Severe Upper Limb Paresis: A Pilot, Single-Blind, Randomized Crossover Study  



To evaluate the effects of electrically assisted movement therapy (EAMT) in which patients use functional electrical stimulation, modulated by a custom device controlled through the patient’s unaffected hand, to produce or assist task-specific upper limb movements, which enables them to engage in intensive goal-oriented training.


Randomized, crossover, assessor-blinded, 5-week trial with follow-up at 18 weeks.


Rehabilitation university hospital.


Patients with chronic, severe stroke (N=11; mean age, 47.9y) more than 6 months poststroke (mean time since event, 46.3mo).


Both EAMT and the control intervention (dose-matched, goal-oriented standard care) consisted of 10 sessions of 90 minutes per day, 5 sessions per week, for 2 weeks. After the first 10 sessions, group allocation was crossed over, and patients received a 1-week therapy break before receiving the new treatment.

Main Outcome Measures

Fugl-Meyer Motor Assessment for the Upper Extremity, Wolf Motor Function Test, spasticity, and 28-item Motor Activity Log.


Forty-four individuals were recruited, of whom 11 were eligible and participated. Five patients received the experimental treatment before standard care, and 6 received standard care before the experimental treatment. EAMT produced higher improvements in the Fugl-Meyer scale than standard care (P<.05). Median improvements were 6.5 Fugl-Meyer points and 1 Fugl-Meyer point after the experimental treatment and standard care, respectively. The improvement was also significant in subjective reports of quality of movement and amount of use of the affected limb during activities of daily living (P<.05).


EAMT produces a clinically important impairment reduction in stroke patients with chronic, severe upper limb paresis.

Source: Electrically Assisted Movement Therapy in Chronic Stroke Patients With Severe Upper Limb Paresis: A Pilot, Single-Blind, Randomized Crossover Study – Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

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[BLOG POST] L300 Go System from Bioness Receives CE Mark – Rehab Managment

Published on May 1, 2017

The L300 Go System, which received FDA clearance in January, has now received the CE Mark in the European Union.

The next step for Valencia, Calif-based Bioness Inc will be to make the L300 Go System available to healthcare professionals and home users in Europe.

The functional electrical stimulation (FES) system is built to help increase mobility in individuals with lower limb paralysis or weakness.

Features include 3D motion detection of gait events from a 3-axis gyroscope and accelerometer, which detects movement in all three kinematic planes; as well as the myBioness mobile iOS application that allows users to track their progress, set goals, and evaluate their movements.

“We are pleased to have achieved this important regulatory milestone,” says Todd Cushman, president and CEO of Bioness, in the release. “The market response to the technology after its debut in February has far exceeded our expectations as clinicians realize how the L300 Go can improve clinical efficiency and facilitate superior patient care.”

The L300 Go System will be available to European users sometime in late summer 2017, per the release.

[Source(s): Bioness Inc, PR Newswire]

Source: L300 Go System from Bioness Receives CE Mark – Rehab Managment

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[Abstract] A Randomized Controlled Study: Effectiveness of Functional Electrical Stimulation on Wrist and Finger Flexor Spasticity in Hemiplegia


The objective of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of functional electrical stimulation (FES) applied to the wrist and finger extensors for wrist flexor spasticity in hemiplegic patients.


Thirty stroke patients treated as inpatients were included in the study. Patients were randomly divided into study and control groups. FES was applied to the study group. Wrist range of movement, the Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS), Rivermead Motor Assessment (RMA), Brunnstrom (BS) hand neurophysiological staging, Barthel Index (BI), and Upper Extremity Function Test (UEFT) are outcome measures.


There was no significant difference regarding range of motion (ROM) and BI values on admission between the groups. A significant difference was found in favor of the study group for these values at discharge. In the assessment within groups, there was no significant difference between admission and discharge RMA, BS hand, and UEFT scores in the control group, but there was a significant difference between the admission and discharge values for these parameters in the study group. Both groups showed improvement in MAS values on internal assessment.


It was determined that FES application is an effective method to reduce spasticity and to improve ROM, motor, and functional outcomes in hemiplegic wrist flexor spasticity.


Source: A Randomized Controlled Study: Effectiveness of Functional Electrical Stimulation on Wrist and Finger Flexor Spasticity in Hemiplegia – Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases

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An injury or disease of the central nervous system (CNS) results in significant limitations in the communication with the environment (e.g., mobility, reaching and grasping). Functional electrical stimulation (FES) externally activates the muscles; thus, can restore several motor functions and reduce other health related problems.

This review discusses the major bottleneck in current FES which prevents the wider use and better outcome of the treatment. We present a control method that we continually enhance during more than 30 years in the research and development of assistive systems. The presented control has a multi-level structure where upper levels use finite state control and the lower level implements model based control. We also discuss possible communication channels between the user and the controller of the FES. The artificial controller can be seen as the replica of the biological control. The principle of replication is used to minimize the problems which come from the interplay of biological and artificial control in FES. The biological control relies on an extensive network of neurons sending the output signals to the muscles. The network is being trained though many the trial and error processes in the early childhood, but staying open to changes throughout the life to satisfy the particular needs. The network considers the nonlinear and time variable properties of the motor system and provides adaptation in time and space.

The presented artificial control method implements the same strategy but relies on machine classification, heuristics, and simulation of model-based control. The motivation for writing this review comes from the fact that many control algorithms have been presented in the literature by the authors who do not have much experience in rehabilitation engineering and had never tested the operations with patients.

Almost all of the FES devices available implement only open-loop, sensory triggered preprogrammed sequences of stimulation. The suggestion is that the improvements in the FES devices need better controllers which consider the overall status of the potential user, various effects that stimulation has on afferent and efferent systems, reflexive responses to the FES and direct responses to the FES by non-stimulated sensory-motor systems, and the greater integration of the biological control.

Full Text: PDF


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Source: CONTROL OF FUNCTIONAL ELECTRICAL STIMULATION FOR RESTORATION OF MOTOR FUNCTION | Popović | Facta Universitatis, Series: Electronics and Energetics

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[VIDEO] Functional electrical stimulation (FES) talk with Christine Singleton and Sarah Joiner – YouTube

Δημοσιεύτηκε στις 22 Μαρ 2017

Lead Clinical Physiotherapist Christine Singleton and Sarah Joiner who has MS discuss Functional electrical stimulation (FES), how it works, who can use it, how to wear it, does it make a difference and how can you get referred for it. For more information about FES visit our website…

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[WEB SIDE] WalkAide & Foot Drop –

WalkAide & Foot Drop

​​​​WalkAide: Helping​​ You Get a Leg Up on Foot Drop

WalkAide is a class II, FDA cleared medical device, designed to improve walking ability in people experiencing foot drop caused by upper motor neuron injuries or conditions such as:

  • Multiple Sc​​lerosis (MS)​
  • Stroke (CVA)
  • Cerebral Palsy (CP)
  • Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)​​

​Foot Drop or Dropped Foot is a condition caused by weakness or paralysis of the muscles involved in lifting the front part of the foot, which causes a person to drag the toe of the shoe on the ground or slap the foot on the floor.

Foot drop (also known as drop foot) may result from damage to the central nervous system such as stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. The WalkAide is designed to assist with the ability to lift the foot for those individuals who have suffered an injury to their central nervous system. The WalkAide is not designed to work with people who have damage to the lower motor neurons/peripheral nerves.​

WalkAide vs. AFO​

Traditionally, foot drop is treated with bracing using an ankle foot orthosis (AFO). The passive treatement offered by AFOs do not promote active use of neuromuscular systems and also limits ankle range of motion. In addition, AFOs can be uncomfortable, bulky, and, if poorly fitted, produce areas of pressure and tissue breakdown. The WalkAide may replace the traditional AFO to re-engage a person’s existing nerve pathways and muscles. Using the WalkAide, in most cases, frees the patient from AFO restrictions. 

The recruitment of existing muscles results in reduction of atrophy and walking fatigue – a common side effect of foot bracing. WalkAide users have the freedom to walk with or without footwear, up and down the stairs, and even sidestep.

Comparison of Benefits of Functional Electrical
Stimulation (FES) and Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) for Foot Drop​

AFO = ankle foot orthosis • FES = functional electrical stimulation • ROM = range of motion

Advanced Technology; Easy to Use

​​​Invented by a team of researchers at the University of Alberta, WalkAide uses functional electrical stimulation (FES) to restore typical nerve-to-muscle signals in the leg and foot, effectively lifting the foot at the appropriate time. The resulting movement is a smoother, more natural and safer stepping motion. It may allow faster walking for longer distances with less fatigue. In fact, many people who try WalkAide experience immediate and substantial improvement in their walking ability, which increases their mobility, functionality, and overall independence.

​A sophisticated medical device, WalkAide uses advanced tilt sensor technology to analyze the movement of your leg. This tilt sensor adjust the timing of stimulation for every step. The system sends electrical signals or stimulation to the peroneal nerve, which controls movement in your ankle and foot. These gentle electrical impulses activate the muscles to raise your foot at the appropriate time during the step cycle.

​Although highly-advanced, WalkAide is surprisingly small and easy to use. It consists of a AA battery-operated, single-channel electrical stimulator, two electrodes, and electrode leads. WalkAide is applied directly to the leg — not implanted underneath the skin — which means no surgery is involved. A cuff holds the system comfortably in place, and it can be worn discreetly under most clothing. With the WalkAide’s patented Tilt Sensor technology, most users do not require additional external wiring or remote heel sensors.

​​WalkAide Provides the Advantages not Found in Typical Foot Drop Treamtents :

  • Easy one-handed operation and application
  • Small, self-contained unit
  • Does not require orthopedic or special shoes
  • May be worn barefoot or with slippers
  • Minimal contact means minimal discomfort with reduced perspiration
  • May improve circulation, reduce atrophy, improve voluntary control and increase joint range of motion

Customized For Individual Walking Pattern

​WalkAide is not a one size fits all device. Rather, a specially trained medical professional customizes and fits the WalkAide. Using WalkAnalyst, a multifaceted computer software program, the clinician can tailor WalkAide to an individual’s walking pattern for optimal effectiveness.

Exercise Mode for Home Use

​In addition fo walking assistance, the WalkAide system includes a pre-programmable exercise mode that allows a user to exercise his/her muscles while resting for a set period of time as prescribed.​

Visit Site —> WalkAide & Foot Drop –

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