Functional electrical stimulation (FES) cycling ergometer has been utilized in recent decades for rehabilitation by sequentially stimulating the large leg-actuating muscles of paralyzed leg muscles to produce cyclical leg motion. A number of studies reported physiological adaptations after regular FES-cycling exercise (FESCE) training in subjects with spinal cord injury, stroke, cerebral palsy and other conditions. This article provides a comprehensive overview of general aspects of FES cycling systems and clinical applications of FESCE. The studies cited in this article provide supportive findings for the potential clinical efficacy of FESCE for reducing the risk of secondary medical complications in subjects with paralysis. The potential therapeutic benefits of FESCE include conditioning the cardiopulmonary, muscular, and skeletal systems, and improving other physiological and psychological performances. Our recent pilot study also indicated that the decrease of leg spasticity in subjects with cerebral palsy is one of the acute effects of FESCE. In conclusion, we recommend that FESCE is of benefit in a variety of aspects to improve the general condition and to prevent deterioration in subjects with central neurological impairments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Medical and Biological Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Cycling exercise
  • Functional electrical stimulation
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine(all)


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