Foot Drop is a medical term for difficulty lifting the foot at the ankle. This is a condition caused by weakness or paralysis of the muscles involved in flexing the ankle and toes, which causes a person to drag the toe of the shoe on the ground or slap the foot on the floor while walking. Foot Drop is a neuromuscular disorder and can be a symptom of nerve compression or a low back injury such as disc herniation or as a result of Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease.
Symptoms Of Foot Drop
Foot Drop makes it difficult to lift the front part of your foot, so if you walk normally the foot might drag on the floor. Often patients compensate for this by raising their thigh when walking to help their foot clear the floor. This odd walking gait often causes those patients to slap the involved foot onto the floor when stepping.
Foot Drop typically affects only one foot. Depending on the underlying cause, however, it’s possible for both feet to be affected. In some cases, patients with Foot Drop experience a numb sensation of the skin on the top of their foot and toes.
Foot Drop isn’t a disease but rather a sign of an underlying neurological, anatomical or muscular problem. In many cases Foot Drop is temporary, although for some it is permanent.
Treatment Of Foot Drop
Our Chartered Physiotherapists can help you with both temporary and permanent foot drop. The treatment used will depend on the underlying cause. If the cause can be diagnosed and is successfully treated, Foot Drop may improve or even disappear.
If the underlying cause can’t be treated, Foot Drop may be permanent and we will guide you through your options.
Our Physiotherapists will guide you through exercises that will strengthen your leg muscles. These exercises will also help you maintain range of motion in your knee and ankle, which often improves gait problems associated with foot drop.
For temporary foot drop an ankle/foot brace or AFO splint that fits into your shoe, may be prescribed. This can help hold your foot in a normal position.
All of our Chartered Physiotherapists are experts in the treatment of Drop Foot. We are also the only Medical company in Ireland to provide assessment and fitting for the revolutionary WalkAide system which was designed to restore mobility to those individuals seeking a return to independence.
For more information about our WalkAide treatment for drop foot, see our blog.
Foot Drop can affect a person’s mobility, independence and quality of life. Our highly skilled Physiotherapists are trained in the assessment and treatment of this condition. They can help you to get back on your feet!