Foot drop isn’t a disease itself; it results from an underlying condition that causes the muscles of the foot to become paralyzed and flaccid. Foot drop is fairly common and can be either temporary or permanent depending upon the severity of the disease condition causing it.
How do you know you have foot drop?
The classic sign of a drop foot is difficulty in lifting the foot from the ground. If the foot drags when you walk or if you need to lift your knees high to walk in an unusual way, it could be a foot drop. Proper physical evaluation by a doctor will accurately diagnose the condition.
What causes a foot drop?
There can be several underlying conditions that can cause the muscles of your foot to become weak or paralyzed.
The most common cause is a direct nerve injury. This could be because of a cerebrovascular accident (stroke) or any other disease that affects the nerves. Nerve injury could also occur due to trauma during a surgery. The nerve that is damaged in a foot drop is the peroneal nerve.
Other causes of foot drop include musculoskeletal disorders, viral infections such as polio, and even spinal cord lesions and disorders.
Treatment for foot drop
Several medical intervention methods have been employed to rehabilitate a patient with foot drop including conservative measures and surgical correction.
Orthosis and splints/braces are the first line of treatment in mild cases however the recovery period is prolonged. Physiotherapy and special exercises are also shown to improve the power of the muscles of the foot.
In more severe cases surgical correction that used the attachment of a tendon to the foot is usually recommended. With proper post-op care and rehab, the prognosis of a surgically corrected foot drop is impressive.