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Cycling With Functional Electrical Stimulation in an Adult With Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy


Johnston, Therese E.; Wainwright, Susan F.


American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)


Physical Therapy, 2011, Volume 91 (Number 6), Seite 970-982, Alexandria, Virginia: Eigenverlag, ISSN: 0031-9023 (Print); 1538-6724 (Online)




Background and Purpose:

Adults with cerebral palsy (CP) are at risk for decreased mobility and health complications, and exercise may combat some of these negative changes. Because people with CP have difficulty generating sufficient muscle force, exercise augmented with functional electrical stimulation (FES) is an option for increasing exercise intensity. This mixed-method (quantitative-qualitative) case report describes the effects-across the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) model-of cycling with FES (FES cycling) in an adult with CP.

Case Description:

An ambulatory 49-year-old man with spastic diplegic CP cycled with FES at home for 30 minutes, 3 times per week, for 12 weeks. Volitional efforts were augmented by FES of the bilateral quadriceps, gastrocnemius, and gluteal muscles. Testing was performed before and after the intervention and 4 weeks after intervention withdrawal.


After training, quadriceps muscle strength (force-generating capacity) improved by 22.2%, hamstring muscle strength improved by 18.5%, and the Timed 'Up & Go' Test time decreased from 11.9 to 9.0 seconds. The patient reported increased performance and satisfaction for self-identified goals at the ICF level of participation, and his score on the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Health Survey questionnaire increased from 62.1 to 77.6. However, he reported increased back pain, which he attributed to positioning while cycling. Qualitative interviews provided context (the patient's perspective) for some of the quantitative results.


The patient made gains in body structure and function, activity, and participation (ICF levels) after FES cycling. The mixed-method approach provided insight into his experiences and perceptions about the measures assessed quantitatively. Further investigation on FES cycling in this population as well as positioning during cycling is warranted.

Weitere Informationen:

Informationen in der ICF:


Zeitschriftenbeitrag / Forschungsergebnis


Physical Therapy

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Informationsstand: 14.06.2012

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