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.
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.
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:
The compression or pinching of the peroneal nerve can increase the risk of foot drop. For example-
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.
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.
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.
Perform routine low impact exercises such as yoga, swimming, stationary biking and stretching to improve the tone of your leg.
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.
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.
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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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