What is Foot Drop?

Foot Drop (Drop Foot) refers to a debilitating condition where a person is unable to lift their forefoot off the ground. It may be sign of an underlying neurological, muscular or anatomical disorder which should be assessed promptly.

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Foot Drop can be caused by various underlying issues affecting the muscles, nerves, or central nervous system, leading to weakness or paralysis in the muscles responsible for lifting the foot. This loss of motor control can significantly impact mobility, stability, and the overall quality of daily activities.

What are the causes of foot drop?

Foot drop results from the weakness or paralysis of the leg muscles responsible for lifting the forefoot and toes. Various factors can contribute to this condition, including:

  • Muscular dystrophy (inherited diseases that cause progressive muscle weakness), such as charcot marie tooth, spina bifida, and cerebral palsy
  • Brain and spinal cord disorders, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis (MS) or stroke
  • Peroneal nerve injuries
  • Sciatic impingement at the hip
  • Spinal nerve root impingement in the low back
  • Spinal cord tumors
  • Autoimmune conditions affecting the nerves, such as demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Ankle arthritis
  • Nerve injury following hip or knee replacement surgery
  • Diabetic peripheral neuropathy
  • Prolonged leg cast immobilisation

How can foot drop be managed?

If you're experiencing foot drop, your podiatrist will do a comprehensive assessment to evaluate the extent of weakness, spasticity and muscular compensation in the lower limb. Your podiatrist will work on management plans to facilitate the lifting of the front of your foot.

Depending on the specific type of foot drop, the podiatrist may employ various interventions including:

  • Orthotic devices
  • Footwear modifications
  • Rigid or dynamic braces and splints
  • Physical therapy
  • Nerve stimulation and muscle spasticity reduction with focused ESWT, radial ESWT and SIS modalities
  • Referral for foot surgery (which may involve tendon transfer or joint fusion)

If you or a loved one is grappling with foot drop, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist or a healthcare professional today to explore personalised solutions and take a step towards improved mobility and quality of life.

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Common Symptoms

Sensation of foot heaviness
Dragging the toes on the floor
Raising up the knee and thigh excessively while walking (steppage gait)
Involuntarily slapping the foot down on the floor with each step
Numbness to the top of the foot, toes or lower leg
Circumduction gait pattern

How It Looks Like

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Related Conditions


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Have a question?

I was diagnosed with a type of muscle dystrophy and wasn't able to wear flat sneakers as Im having difficulty in lifting my foot while walking and I fall down few times just by walking on flat shoes. So I will just wear heels and wedge shoes to walk better. I didn't know the term "foot drop" until I went to see Mr. Lewis of East Coast podiatry and I felt that he understand what I am going through. So I followed his suggestion of getting an AFO. After almost a month of using it, I can finally wear and walk better in sneakers. Thanks Mr. Lewis Nurney!

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100% non-invasive methods to improve your ankle in 4-8 weeks

An ankle specialist, such as a podiatrist, will be able to perform a thorough foot assessment using diagnostic tools, such as a musculoskeletal diagnostic ultrasound to determine the source of your ankle pain. If surgery is required, your podiatrist will refer you to a trusted foot and ankle doctor for surgical solutions.

A thorough assessment of your ankle

Immobilising the area with splints

Utilising technological therapies

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