Every morning its four sticky FES electrodes

 Every morning its four sticky FES electrodes

These are the electrodes I stick on my leg

Every morning its four sticky FES electrodes. I must put them on my left leg. Two go onto my thigh and two go just below the knee. I started using the FES two years ago in December 2014. I estimate that I have taken the sticky electrodes off about 720 times and put them back on about 720 times.

Every morning its four sticky FES electrodes 

Without the FES I would now be in a wheelchair. Using a rollator I can walk even if it is very slow.

If you do something repeatedly then things will inevitably change either for the better or for the worse. I guess this is evolution but in my case it was a stupid mistake.

A few days ago I went for my 6 monthly check-up

I arrived on time. So there I was in the waiting room daydreaming when the physio calls me through to the treatment area. The first thing she does is to look at my walking, after a few steps she asked me if there were any problems.

“No” I replied, confident that everything was hunky dory.

“Ummmm” she said. “When you lift your leg up your toes seem to be pointing inwards. Have you noticed this?”

“No” I said quite innocently.

“Well let’s go and have a look at where you are placing the electrodes on your leg. I don’t think there is any problem with the ones on your thigh”.

Oh dear!!

Well she took one look at the electrode that is placed just below my knee. Straight away she said it is about half a centimetre too high and about a quarter of a centimetre to far back. I’m 190 cm tall so what is half a centimetre?  She adjusted the position of the electrodes on my leg and we set off for another walk.

Wow, walking suddenly became so much easier. As I was lifting my left foot off the ground the FES was sending an impulse to a slightly different muscle. This time my left foot was pointing slightly outwards when taking a step. Walking was suddenly so much easier.

It works, here is the proof

Now time to measure the effectiveness of the FES. Two timed 10 meter walks without the FES and then same again using the FES. It is a part of the check-up. I was 7 seconds quicker with the FES. I must use a two wheeled walking frame so I keep my balance. It really does help me.

A good check-up. Repositioning an electrode and it significantly improves my walking.

December 2016

Every morning, sticky electrodes, I can walk, very slowly, different muscle, much easier, left leg, different position

6 responses to “Every morning its four sticky FES electrodes”

  1. Sue King says:

    Well, if you can get it slightly wrong after two years no wonder I’m having problems after two weeks. I am attending Queen Square for the MS SMART trial, started December 2015.

    • Hello Sue,

      It took me a while to get it right. I marked the position with a biro on my skin. Its the top one on the lower leg that I found tricky.

      Another year with MS-SMART, is it working for you at all?

      I think the staff at Queens Square are tremendous, they all go the extra mile to be helpful in my experience

      • Sue King says:

        Hi Patrick,

        Yes the staff at Queen Square are great. I have been seeing Tiggy or Vanessa but now see Laura, next appointment April. I hope I’m on the placebo because I feel I am progressing at a quicker rate than I would like, so, if I am taking a drug that is working then it’s a bit scarey that without it I would be worse. How have you found it? Are you also doing the additional MRI, lumber puncture etc?

        I am also seeing the physio at Queen Square for the FES and have my six week check there next month when they will look at having a further electrode to assist with bending my knee, then hopefully, at a later date will have another stimulator for my left leg.

        Sue

        • Hello Sue,

          I nornally see Vnaessa or Tiggy. I am getting progressively worse physically but powers of concentration do not seem to have been affected. The trial is looking at preserving brain function so I’m quite happy but I have had MS since 1972 and SPMS started in 2000 so progress is very very slow. I’m not sure if its a placebo but I feel content that brain function is still good. Balance and walking are definitey getting worse, no arguement. Just to be on a trial is good news and makes me feel better. Also we will be top of the pile for any positive outcomes from the trial

          Sounds like a dual channel FES is the next step. I found it much easier than the single channel one. Do you have a hyper extending knee. I have that and FES does not help that but it is big help with foot drop and helps my leg drop a little bit. put it this way, without it I woukd definitely be in a wheelchair. I do find FES a faff, I’ve had it for 2 years, but then I think what it gives me in return and then I shut-up

  2. Michael says:

    Nice post and it demonstrates not only how effective FES is with MS, but also how easy it is to get electrode creep – especially when you’ve four to position! It may be fiddly every morning, but I wouldn’t be without mine!

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