Comparing different treatments for foot drop in MS

Therapist and patient attaching FES

Lead researcher: Ms Linda Miller

Based at: NHS Ayrshire and Arran

Grant we awarded: £139,077

Many people with MS experience a symptom called ‘foot drop’, which can cause difficulties with walking and increase risk of falls and trips.

There is increasing evidence Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) is a clinically effective treatment for this symptom. But there isn't enough evidence yet on the impact this treatment has on quality of life and its cost effectiveness. This means in many areas the NHS will not pay for treatment, so many people with MS are unable to access it.

What happens in this project?

FES is a medical device that stimulates the nerve at the side of the lower part of the leg and contracts the muscle at the outside of the leg to help lift the foot. This project is a clinical trial which will compare FES with Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO), the most commonly available treatment for foot drop. An AFO is a plastic splint which goes down the back of the leg and under the foot to help to reduce tripping.

The trial will compare their effects on walking speed, fatigue, quality of life and a number of other methods, including measures of cost-effectiveness.

How will it help people with MS?

The results of this study will inform the decisions commissioners and clinicians make about what treatments should be available, and if appropriate may lead to better access to FES.

The difference you can make

Foot drop can cause people with MS to trip and fall and lose confidence. Help people maintain their mobility and independence by supporting our important research.

The next research breakthrough is in reach

Your donation will help stop MS.

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£30could process one blood sample, giving researchers crucial information about genes and the immune system.

£50could pay for an hour on a microscope, so scientists can study cells and tissue in greater detail and improve their understanding of the biology of MS.

£100could pay for half an hour of MRI use, so researchers can monitor the success of clinical trials and understand MS in more detail.

Every penny you give really does take us a step closer to stopping MS. Your donation will make a difference.

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£10a month could pay for lab equipment like microscope slides to study the building blocks of MS

£20a month could pay for lab equipment like petri dishes to grow bacteria important for studying genetics

£30a month could process a blood sample to help us understand what causes MS, so we can stop it in its tracks

Your regular donation means we can keep funding world class MS research with confidence. Together we will stop MS.

MS researcher at work in lab, using a pipette