Effects of a Single Electrical Stimulation Session on Foot Force Production, Foot Dome Stability, and Dynamic Postural Control

Review written by Ian Griffiths info

Key Points

  1. Just one 15-minute session of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) appears to have a significant short-term effect on some facets of foot function in some individuals.
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It has been suggested that the intrinsic foot muscles (IFM) have a significant role in foot function, contributing to the stiffness of the medial longitudinal arch (its spring like action in storing and releasing mechanical energy) and in stiffening the metatarsophalangeal joints (MTPJs) to contribute to propulsive power (1, 2, 3, 4). Some studies have highlighted a correlation between toe flexor strength and performance in certain tasks (sprinting, jumping and agility tests) and some even make the case that it can reduce the rate of running related injuries (5, 6, 7, 8).

Previous work has shown that just one session of neuromuscular electrical stimulation [NEMS] to the abductor hallucis muscle (AbH) immediately improves its activity output and strength (9) and the aim of this study was similar; to evaluate the effects of a single NMES session to AbH on three components of foot function:

  1. Foot force production
  2. Foot dome stability
  3. Dynamic postural control

The intrinsic foot muscles contribute to the stiffness of the medial longitudinal arch and contribute to propulsive power.
This study does not necessarily add weight to the argument that significant time should be invested in foot strengthening for everyone.


A total of 46 participants were recruited (23 males and 23 females) and there was no attrition at all throughout the study. The inclusion criteria were to be between 18-60 years old, have a pronated foot posture as defined by

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