Basic concepts FES, TENS and EMS

In this section, we give you an overview of the most relevant terms used in the fields of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS).

Term Explanation
Abduction Lateral path (foot tilts → laterally) – opposing movement → adduction. Movement of the leg or foot away from the body.
Adduction Lateral approach (foot tilts towards the → midline) – opposing movement → abduction. Movement of the leg or foot towards the centre of the body.
Basal ganglia A group of nuclei situated in the grey matter at the base of the forebrain (telencephalon) and top of the midbrain (diencephalon), under the cerebral cortex.
Dorsiflexion Describes the “upward” contraction/movement of the foot at the ankle joint towards the back of the foot (i.e. the upper surface of the foot when standing).
EMS Electrical Muscle Stimulation: Low frequent electrical impulses stimulate the nerves, which causes muscle contractions.
Eversion Combination of movement consisting of → abduction, → dorsiflexion and → pronation. The foot tilts → laterally.
Fibular nerve → Peroneal nerve
lat. Nervus fibularis
Synonym of popliteal nerve
Head of the fibula lat. Caput fibulae
The head of the fibula or calf bone is a palpable bony crest and forms the end of the fibula (lat. Fibula). It is where tendons and ligaments are attached and at the same time represents the head of a joint. The peroneal nerve → runs directly below the head of the fibula
Functional electrical stimulation Nerves are stimulated through the skin with electrical impulses to induce muscle contraction.
Weak foot dorsiflexion Describes a restriction in the movement of the foot: The foot can no longer be lifted and is dragged over the floor when walking. This is associated with an extremely high risk of tripping and falling. It is often caused by → peroneal nerve paresis.
Innervation Innervation describes the functional supply of a body part or tissue structure with nerve cells and nerve fibres. Innervation allows the control of bodily processes and movements through the exertion and perception of stimuli.
Inversion Inversion
Sciatic nerve lat. Nervus ischiadicus
Sciatic nerve
Lateral To the side of the body, away from the midline
Medial Oriented towards the midline (centre) of the body
Musculus biceps femoris A double-headed thigh muscle, whose long head forms part of the hamstring muscle group
Musculus tibialis anterior Dorsiflexion muscle, anterior tibialis muscle
Nervus fibularis Fibular nerve
Nervus peroneus profundus Deep peroneal nerve
Nervus peroneus superficialis Superficial peroneal nerve
Nervus peroneus Peroneal nerve
Nervus tibularis Tibial nerve
Patella Knee cap; thin, convex bone, which has a triangular shape in front view and is located in front of the joint
Peroneal nerv paralysis Synonym of → peroneal nerve paresis, → weak foot dorsiflexion
Nervus tibularis → Fibularisnerv
lat. Nervus peroneus
Nervus tibularis
Peroneal nerve paralysis A lesion of the peroneal nerve that may result in → weak foot dorsiflexion. This means that the dorsiflexion motor command can no longer be transmitted to the musculature: The foot can no longer be lifted and this results in the toes being dragged along the floor when walking.
Plantar flexion "Downwards" contraction/movement of the foot towards the sole
Pronation Rotation of the foot about its longitudinal axis, in which the outer edge of the foot is lifted and the inner edge is lowered.
Tibial nerve lat. Nervus tibularis
The tibial nerve is a branch of the sciatic nerve. It runs along the back of the leg and → innervates parts of the muscles of the thigh, lower leg and foot as well as skin areas of the calf, heel and sole.
Supination "Bent back" position of the foot; lifting of the inner edge of the foot with simultaneous lowering of the outer or lifting of the medial edge.
TENS Transcutaneous Electrical Nerval Stimulation: Via electrodes placed on the skin nerval structures are stimulated, which reduces patieten's pain perception
Tibia Shin/shin bone; second longest bone in the human body
Head of the calf bone Head of the fibula
Peroneal nerve Synonym of → Peroneal nerve, → Fibular nerve