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Frequently Asked Questions

Patients (14)

If you would like to request a FAQ for us to answer then please fill out this short form.

Click here to suggest a FAQ.

Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) is a technique that uses electrical current to stimulate nerves and moves paralysed muscles.

The most common use of FES is for the correction of drop foot.

Before you proceed with FES, we recommend you read through these sections on the website:

These will give you all the information you need. We also have a free information pack, which you can order here.

For any other questions, please call our clinical team on +44 (0)1722 439 540

If funding is not possible or you would like to fund yourself, you have the choice to self-refer. We recommend you speak with your GP, consultant or physiotherapist before self-referring. They may be able to provide more information and help with the referral process. 

Read here for more information on referrals.

Providing funding is agreed, you can be seen in some cases within a week.

We do not have a waiting list and will try our best to organise an assessment as quickly as possible.

An OML Outreach Clinic is fully-trained clinicans that treat patients on our behalf. 

They have been set-up to help patients to be seen locally, rather than travelling a long way to Salisbury. 

Our Outreach Clinics are not the same as a FES service in a hospital. This is a direct referral route to FES services and they are independent from clinics. OML provides equipment and then it's down to the hospital to treat their patients accordingly. 

If you are under the care of an OML trained clinician, you have the option to purchase the equipment. Speak to your clinician or call our team +44 (0)1722 439 540 to find out more.

Please note: if you are being treated in Salisbury, or in one of the Outreach Clinics, the supplied equipment is on loan (regardless if you are self funding or NHS funded).  

Once your treatment is stopped, then the equipment is to be returned to OML.

If there is an Outreach Clinic near you, we will make arrangements for you to be seen locally once we have received your referral. 

If you would still prefer to be seen at Salisbury, we are always happy to treat you here!

Please click here to see if there is an Outreach Clinic near you. 

The best way to keep up to date with our developments is through this website.

We will publish details of new products when they are available.

OML patients may also be informed at their clinic appointment or by letter. 

Clinicians can sign-up to our newsletter which includes our latest product developments.

Yes of course! Click on the link below to see videos of FES in action.

OML videos for patients

OML videos for healthcare professionals

Electrodes should last around 30 applications.

The footswitch usually lasts for at least 1 year. If you have a cork insole then it is likely that the insole will have to be replaced long before the footswitch. To do this, carefully peel off the footswitch and attach it to a new insole. Quite often the footswitch looks quite worn but it actually lasts a very long time.

Look out for the footswitch and electrode leads becoming stiff and an off-colour as this is an indication that they might need replacing soon.

We suggest using sticky tape to make sure the heelswitch remains attached to the insole.

It can also depend on the type of insole you use. We recommend a well-fitted cork insoles as the heelswitch is less likely to move around in your shoe. 

For best results and comfort the footswitch is usually attached underneath the insole with the black dot of the fooswitch facing upwards.

For more informaiton, see below:

Footswitch connections

Ataching a footswitch without shoes

A very small number of patients may experience skin irritation where the electrodes are placed. 

If skin irration does occur, you should stop using your FES device and contact your clinician to talk through potential treatments and future prevention.

 Here is a helpful document on skin irritation.

We have not had any reported problems with using FES on the lower limbs for clients with implanted baclofen pumps, however as with all implanted devices we advise that clinicians should seek advice from the manufacture of the implanted device or ask the team who reviews the implanted device to perform tests to demonstrate that FES is safe with the device in situ.

The answer is a bit complicated and is decided by HM Revenue and Customs. 

Equipment that requires a fitting at a hospital is not VAT exempt therefore when you are set up with FES all of the equipment has to be charged with VAT. 

However, for replacements of equipment that is specifically designed for FES are VAT exempt. This means the footswitch lead, footswitch and stimulator pouch are VAT exempt, when ordering replacements. 

Other replacement equipment you may need like electrode leads and electrodes is not VAT exempt because it can be used on other equipment that is not specifically used for people with disabilities.

Electrodes (3)

Electrodes are only designed to last for 30 applications. So replace them if they are all dried out.

Quite often people use lotions or moisturisers on their legs. This can cause the electrode to peel off the leg. Make sure you have clean, dry skin before putting on the electrodes.

After using the electrodes we advise to wet the electrodes a little, before putting them back on the 'ON' side of the plastic and sealing them in the original packaging or an airtight container.

The manufacturer claims that the electrodes are good for about 30 applications. So using the stimulator every day means you should get about 1 months use.

After using the electrodes we advise to wet the electrodes a little, before putting them back on the 'ON' side of the plastic and sealing them in the original packaging or an airtight container.

The manual that comes with your stimulator should have diagrams of electrode positions.

Your clinician may have marked your electrode position in the manual or even issued you with photos of where your electrodes go.

If you continue to have problems, we recommend you contact the clinician that issued you with the equipment as they will be able to help. Or call us on +44 (0)1722 439 540 and a member of our team can help.

Try this link for the manufacturers of the PALS electrodes.

Technical Questions (2)

Our stimulators do not require any regular servicing or calibration.

They have a two year manufacturer's warranty and should be returned to us for repair if a problem occurs.

If a stimulator becomes faulty due to damage by the user, we will charge for any repairs required.

The wireless footswitch and insoles have a one year manufacturing warranty. 

Sometimes this is because the battery is not making contact with the silver battery tags inside the stimulator. This can happen if the stimulator is dropped. If you can see that the battery tags have over bent, then send the stimulator back to Odstock Medical for repair. It might also be the battery. Make sure you use a good brand (we use Duracell's). If you are using rechargeable batteries then make sure they are charged frequently.

Professionals (12)

If you would like to request a FAQ for us to answer then please fill out this short form.

Click here to suggest a FAQ.

We have not had any reported problems with using FES on the lower limbs for clients with implanted baclofen pumps, however as with all implanted devices we advise that clinicians should seek advice from the manufacture of the implanted device or ask the team who reviews the implanted device to perform tests to demonstrate that FES is safe with the device in situ.

Yes of course! Click on the link below to see videos of FES in action.

OML videos for patients

OML videos for healthcare professionals

In order to purchase an ODFS® Pace/Pace XL or O2CHS (two-channel) stimulator, you have to attend the relevant course.

Please note: in order to attend the two-channel course you have to have completed the single-channel course beforehand.

You can purchase the microstim or O4 CHS (4-channel stimulator) or the C-MIT without attending any courses.

All information on our courses can be found here.

We suggest using sticky tape to make sure the heelswitch remains attached to the insole.

It can also depend on the type of insole you use. We recommend a well-fitted cork insoles as the heelswitch is less likely to move around in your shoe. 

For best results and comfort the footswitch is usually attached underneath the insole with the black dot of the fooswitch facing upwards.

For more informaiton, see below:

Footswitch connections

Ataching a footswitch without shoes

The best way to keep up to date with our developments is through this website.

We will publish details of new products when they are available.

OML patients may also be informed at their clinic appointment or by letter. 

Clinicians can sign-up to our newsletter which includes our latest product developments.

The manufacturer claims that the electrodes are good for about 30 applications. So using the stimulator every day means you should get about 1 months use.

After using the electrodes we advise to wet the electrodes a little, before putting them back on the 'ON' side of the plastic and sealing them in the original packaging or an airtight container.

The answer is a bit complicated and is decided by HM Revenue and Customs. 

Equipment that requires a fitting at a hospital is not VAT exempt therefore when you are set up with FES all of the equipment has to be charged with VAT. 

However, for replacements of equipment that is specifically designed for FES are VAT exempt. This means the footswitch lead, footswitch and stimulator pouch are VAT exempt, when ordering replacements. 

Other replacement equipment you may need like electrode leads and electrodes is not VAT exempt because it can be used on other equipment that is not specifically used for people with disabilities.

Our stimulators do not require any regular servicing or calibration.

They have a two year manufacturer's warranty and should be returned to us for repair if a problem occurs.

If a stimulator becomes faulty due to damage by the user, we will charge for any repairs required.

The wireless footswitch and insoles have a one year manufacturing warranty. 

In our clinical experience most patients can use FES regularly without any problems with their skin.  A small number of patients (about 2%) can have some skin irritation problems.  In order to avoid skin problems beneath the electrodes it s good practice to educate your patients in how to look after their skin and electrodes as follows:

Skin

  • Keep skin clean
  • Do not shave the skin, trim hairs with a beard trimmer
  • Avoid long hot baths using bubble bath, try using soap free cleansers
  • If moisturising apply at night and wipe off in morning

Electrodes

  • Use electrodes as recommended by OML
  • Clean electrodes with water after each use
  • Replace electrodes, approx. every month

If you feel your patients are particularly at risk of skin irritation try setting them up with symmetrical waveforrm.  This reduces the concentration of stimulation over the active electrode and can help with skin problems.

For further information on skin irritation advice click on links below:

Skin irritation information sheet for clinicians

Skin irritation case study

A small number of patients can suffer from irritation beneath the electrodes. 

Prevention of skin problems is better than cure, please read "How do I prevent my patient from getting skin irritation?"

If skin irration does occur, we recommend these treatments:

  • Discontinue stimulation at that electrode site until the skin has healed, try moving the electrodes to avoid the skin irritation and consider a different electrode position.
  • Use Eumovate cream for one week which can be bought "over the counter".
  • If problem continues seek medical advice, as  a cream with a stronger steroid content may be required.
  • Change to symmetrical waveform.
  • Change to blue pals electrodes, if not already using them.
  • Consider referral to a Dermatologist if skin irritation persists.

If skin irritation continues to be a problem over a long period despite the above treatment it may be worth considering STIMuSTEP, the implanted dropped foot stimulator.

For further information or advice for patients on managing skin irrtation click on link below:

Skin irritation information sheet for users