University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute
410-448-2500 or 1-888-453-7626

The Rehabilitation Research Center at Kernan

Rehabilitation Technology

RT300 Electrical Stimulation Bike

To help our patients who have lost all or part of their ability to move their legs, Kernan offers the RT300 Electrical Stimulation Bike. This unique therapy tool uses Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) to help patients pedal a stationary bike.

Who is a candidate for Electrical Bike Stimulation therapy?

Designed primarily for spinal cord injury patients, the Electrical Stimulation Bike can be used by anyone who has lost voluntary movement in their legs.

Potential Goals of Treatment

  • Increase muscle strength in patients with incomplete spinal cord injury.
  • Method of biofeedback for patients to better recruit muscles for functional use in incomplete spinal cord injury.
  • Evaluate RT300 bike as an option for post discharge cardiovascular exercise regime (bike is not covered by most insurances for this purpose).

How does it Work?

Patients seated on the bike have electrodes attached to the surface of their legs by their therapist. The system sends computer-generated, low-level electrical impulses to patients' legs, which cause coordinated contractions of the quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteal muscles. Sensors provide constant feedback to a computer, which controls the sequence of muscle contractions as well as the resistance to pedaling. The result is smooth and natural pedaling with patients' leg muscles providing the power to move the bike.

What are the Benefits?

The Electrical Stimulation Bike can help:

  • Prevent muscle atrophy
  • Relax muscle spasms
  • Improve circulation
  • Increase range of motion

How are Patients Selected?

Patients who are candidates for using the Electrical Stimulation Bike:

  • Have active movement after upper motor neuron injury
  • Have intact lower motor neuron innervation in all stimulated muscles
  • Must be on target to achieving functional goals

Patients with the following conditions should use caution when using the Electrical Stimulation Bike:

  • Active implanted devices (i.e. cardiac or phrenic nerve pacemakers)
  • Unstable fractures in the lower extremities
  • Hardware in the pelvis, femur, or proximal tibia less than three months old
  • Severe spasticity which interferes with the pedaling of the bike (spasticity can be reduced by changing bike settings or stretching before treatment)
  • Heterotropic Ossification limiting range of motion to the point of interfering with pedaling (less than 100 degrees of hip or knee flexion)
  • Severe osteoporosis
  • Hyperaesthetic pain syndrome
  • Presence of pressure sores, wounds, and incision in the areas of electrode placement
  • Pregnancy
  • Uncontrolled autonomic dysreflexia
  • Uncontrolled orthostatic hypotension (unable to sit upright for more than 30 minutes)