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:
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:
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.