What is Foot Drop?
Foot Drop is a muscular weakness or paralysis that makes it difficult to lift the front part of your foot and toes, making it difficult to walk fluently. It can be caused by conditions that affect the brain or spinal cord, such as Stroke, brain injury, Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis. It can also be triggered by compression of nerves which control the muscles that lift the foot, such as damage/injury caused during knee or hip repacement surgery. Foot Drop can also be caused by neuropathy and muscle weakness linked to diabetes or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Foot Drop can increase the risk of falls and trips as it makes walking effortful. Foot drop usually only affects one foot, but both feet can be affected depending on the cause and it can be temporary or permanent.
Treatments for Foot Drop
A variety of services to treat and rehab Foot Drop is available:
Through a variety of treatment techniques, our specialised physiotherapists aim to:
- Increase muscle strength through strengthening, balance and mobilisation exercises
- Improve balance and mobility through assessment of different splints/AFO 's (ankle foot orthoses)
- Increase functional activity of the affected leg and foot through home exercise programmes
Orthotics may be a good option depending on the type of drop foot that a person has. It is particularly useful for people with a peripheral nerve problem where electrical stimulation does not work. Different types and styles of orthotics are available and an assessment with an orthotist will identify what type of orthotic will best meet the needs of a particular person.
FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation) works well with people who have central nervous system problems such as with MS, Spinal Cord injury, Stroke and other brain injuries. Different devices are available which have their particular pros and cons. Assessment with a specialised FES therapist will enable the right device to be matched to the particular needs of each individual. Assessments and trials of a variety of Functional Flectrical Stimulation (FES) and advice on various orthotics