Accessibility Options

Foot Drop Solutions

Muscular disorder / Stroke or Brain/Spinal Cord Injuries / Nerve Damage

Foot Drop and Walking Problems

Foot drop, sometimes called drop foot, is a general term for difficulty lifting the foot at the ankle. 

It's important to note that foot drop is a symptom itself and not a specific condition. Foot drop can be temporary or permanent. Depending on the cause, foot drop can affect one or both feet.

Some symptoms you may experience include:

  1. Dragging of the foot: Difficulty in lifting the foot may result in dragging the toes or the foot along the ground while walking.
  2. Weakness in the foot and ankle: The muscles responsible for dorsiflexion (lifting the foot upwards) may weaken, leading to a feeling of weakness or instability in the foot and ankle.
  3. High-stepping gait: To compensate for the dropped foot, people with foot drop may exhibit a high-stepping gait pattern by raising their thigh higher than usual to clear the foot while walking, climbing stairs or stepping over obstacles.
  4. Foot slapping: When walking, the foot may slap against the ground with each step due to the lack of control over foot movement.
  5. Numbness or tingling: Depending on the underlying cause of foot drop, individuals may experience numbness or tingling sensations in the foot or lower leg.
  6. Muscle atrophy: Prolonged foot drop can result in muscle wasting or atrophy, particularly in the muscles of the lower leg and foot.
  7. Tripping or stumbling: It is common for people with footdrop to experience tripping or stumbling as their foot does not lift as they expect it to.

Causes of Foot Drop

Foot drop can be caused by various underlying conditions that affect the nerves, muscles, or bones involved in foot movement. Some common causes of foot drop include:

  1. Nerve damage: Damage to the nerves that control the muscles involved in foot movement is one of the primary causes of foot drop. This damage can result from conditions such peroneal nerve injury.
  2. Sciatica: Compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve.
  3. Herniated disc: A herniated disc in the lower back can put pressure on the nerves that control foot movement, resulting in foot drop.
  4. Muscular disorders: These may include muscular dystrophy, polio, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
  5. Stroke or brain/spinal cord injuries: stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis (MS)


How PhysioFunction can help treat Foot Drop

The treatment options for foot drop depend on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. At PhysioFunction treatment for footdrop may include:

1.Physiotherapy: Physical therapy plays a crucial role in treating foot drop. It focuses on strengthening the muscles, improving range of motion, and enhancing gait and balance. Our team of therapists may use exercises, stretches, and electrical stimulation to stimulate muscle contraction and help regain control of foot movement.

2. Ankle-foot orthosis (AFO): An AFO is a brace that supports the foot and ankle, preventing it from dropping while walking. It keeps the foot in a dorsiflexed position and assists with lifting the foot during the swing phase of walking. PhysioFunction are able to assess for a range of splints including the Turbomed Xtern.

3. Functional electrical stimulation (FES): FES uses electrical impulses to stimulate the muscles and improve foot movement. Not only does FES reduce trips and falls, it can also make walking faster and less effortful. Over time the muscles can even relearn how to lift the foot without the stimulator. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has declared FES as a safe and effective treatment for drop foot. PhysioFunction are able to assess for FES suitability using the Bioness Go or Odstock PACE.

4. Home Exercises: Consistent exercising can help with strengthening the weakened muscles while maximising your foot drop recovery. Some exercises include toe raises, heel to toe walk, lifting a ball with your feet and resistance band dorsiflexion.

    Treatment for foot drop depends on the cause. If the cause is successfully treated, foot drop might improve or even disappear. If the cause can't be treated, foot drop can be permanent.

    We currently accept the following Private Medical Insurance