Foot drop is the inability or loss of functioning of the front heel of the foot. It causes the toes to drag while walking. People who have a foot drop usually lift their knee-high up, or swing their leg wide apart while walking. A foot drop can affect single or both legs at a time and can strike at any age.
There could be many reasons for a foot drop. The most common reasons for a foot drop can be due to weakness or a paralytic attack to the muscle that lifts the foot. Treatments for a foot drop vary according to the causes involved.
Common causes of a foot drop
It could be a symptom of an underlying problem. It could also be temporary or permanent.
- Nerve Injury – The injury is caused to the peroneal nerve, which wraps from the backside of the knee to the front of the shin bone.
- Brain or Spine problems – Neurological weaknesses or problems can cause a foot drop.
- Muscle disorders – Constant weakness of muscles, or muscle deterioration
Treatment and Recovery
Treatment for a foot drop is generally based on the cause. The treatments may include:
- Lightweight braces – Most common treatment involves support to the leg.
- Physiotherapy – To strengthen the foot muscles, and improve the person’s walk.
- Shoe inserts (orthotics) – Therapeutic shoe soles to help reactivate the foot/leg muscles.
- Surgery – A surgery to repair or decompress the damaged nerves may be recommended. This can help to fuse the foot and ankle joints. Another way is to transfer tendons from stronger muscles and replace them with the weaker ones to improve the stability.