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How to Treat Foot Drop?

How to Treat Foot Drop?
Hunaid Germanwala

What is Foot Drop?

Foot drop or drop foot is not a ailment in itself but a sign of underlying nerve damage, muscle damage or skeletal and anatomical abnormality. People suffering from foot drop have difficulty lifting the front part of the foot. The front portion of the foot drags on the ground which makes walking difficult and increases the risk of accidental falls. Foot drop can be both temporary and permanent. People suffering from foot drop are recommended to wear a brace on their ankle and foot to hold the foot in a normal position.

What is Foot Drop?

What are the Symptoms of Foot Drop?

The most common symptom of foot drop is high steppage gait. The patients are forced to raise their thigh while they walk, as though they are climbing stairs. Other symptoms of foot drop include limp foot, muscle atrophy and tingling, numbness, or slight pain in the foot. Depending on the cause of foot drop, it can affect one or both feet.

What are the Causes of Foot Drop?

Foot drop can develop due to lower back condition, stroke or tumor, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, overuse of drugs/ alcohol or an injury to the foot. Some of the common causes of foot drop are:

  • Nerve Damage - Compressed nerves (peroneal nerve) in the leg loses the ability to control the muscles involved in lifting the foot. Hip or knee replacement surgery or an accidental injury can cause foot drop.
  • Diabetes - People who have diabetes are more susceptible to foot drop.
  • Muscular Damage - Muscular dystrophy or muscle weakness can cause foot drop. Other disorders such as polio and Charcot - Marie-Tooth disease are common contributors of foot drop.
  • Brain and Spinal Cord Damage - Damage to the spinal cord or brain due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis or stroke can cause foot drop.

What are the Risk Factors Associated with Foot Drop?

The compression or pinching of the peroneal nerve can increase the risk of foot drop. For example-

  • Standing or sitting with crossed legs can compress the peroneal nerve located at the uppermost leg.
  • Professionals working for prolonged hours in squatting or kneeling position such as in factories, construction sites to lay down floor tiles, packaging units or any other activities that include picking up things from ground are at risk of foot drop.
  • Prolonged wearing of leg cast on the ankle or knee can exert pressure and compress the peroneal nerve. This can lead to drop foot.
  • Bedridden patients who spend most of the time lying on their back are at risk of drop foot.

How to Treat Foot Drop?

Foot drop treatment depends upon the underlying cause and the associated symptoms. Below mentioned tips can help you to better manage your foot drop. Consult your doctor or physical therapist for the best treatment options.

1. Foot Splints and Braces

A foot splint can help keep your foot and ankle flexible. You can choose to wear a foot splint during night time. Foot brace prevent toes from dragging by keeping the forefoot elevated. A lightweight brace can be worn with almost any sandal or shoe. They can easily be kept hidden under pants or socks.

Top Selling Foot Splints and Braces


2. Orthosis

Orthosis can help improve the range of motion and help stretch the ankle. Ankle foot orthosis are comfortable and makes it easier to keep your toes up while walking. Research has proved Ankle-foot Orthoses (AFO) to be helpful in the treatment of foot drop.

Top Selling Orthosis


3. Exercise and Stretching

Perform routine low impact exercises such as yoga, swimming, stationary biking and stretching to improve the tone of your leg.

Top Selling Stretching Bands


4. Canes and Walkers

People suffering from foot drop are at higher risk of accidental falls. Assistive devices such as canes, crutches and walkers can improve the safety of your walking and prevent falls. You can also consider bathroom safety equipments such as grab bars, shower chairs and commodes.

Top Selling Canes and Walkers


What if Foot Drop is left untreated?

Accidental tripping and falls can lead to painful injuries and hospitalizations. Over time foot drop can lead to pain, discomfort and reduced range of motion in your back, ankles and legs. Proper treatment of foot drop can considerably improve the quality of your life.


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

HPFY Hunaid Germanwala

Hunaid Germanwala

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Hunaid Germanwala is digital marketer and content creator at Health Products For You since 2014. He has an MS from Ulm University in ...

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