Researchers at Salisbury District Hospital have been awarded a grant of £59,000 from the MS Trust for a follow up study to assess the effect of the Odstock Dropped Foot Stimulator (ODFS) on people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
This follows a previous award of £50,000 from the MS Trust to the researchers in the Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering Department for an initial study in 2003.
The ODFS - which was developed by clinical engineers at Salisbury District Hospital - has been particularly effective in improving walking, by correcting a dragging or 'dropped foot' in people following a stroke. Clinical staff in the department now believe that the ODFS could help some people with MS.
The ODFS works to correct dropped foot by stimulating the nerves supplying paralysed muscles in the lower leg. Stimulation is applied through electrodes placed on the surface of the skin and started and stopped by a small switch placed in the shoe.
Geraldine Mann, Research Physiotherapist said: "Many people who have had a stroke are paralysed down one side of the body. As a result they may have a dropped foot which makes it difficult to lift the foot adequately when they want to take a step. This can make walking slow and very tiring."
"People with MS can also have problems with dropped foot and the findings from our earlier trial indicated that they may benefit from the ODFS. However, we do need to carry out further work in this particular area."
Mrs Mann added: "We are very grateful to the MS Trust for their support. If anyone would like more information about the trial or the work of the Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering Department at Salisbury District Hospital they are welcome to contact me on 01722 429065 or check the Medical Physics website at www.salisburyfes.com." ENDS
For further information please contact:
Patrick Butler, Public Relations Manager, Salisbury Health Care NHS Trust. Tel: 01722 425170