Foot drop is a muscular weakness or paralysis that makes it difficult to lift the front part of your foot and toes.
It’s also sometimes called drop foot. It can cause you to drag your foot on the ground when you walk.
Foot drop is a sign of an underlying problem rather than a condition itself.
This could be muscular, caused by nerve damage in the leg, or the result of a brain or spinal injury.
Foot drop usually only affects 1 foot, but both feet may be affected depending on the cause. It can be temporary or permanent.
What causes foot drop?
Foot drop is the result of weakness or paralysis of the muscles that lift the front part of your foot. This can be caused by a number of underlying problems. Peripheral nerve problems or neuropathy, Muscle weakness, Brain and spinal cord disorders
Diagnosing foot drop
Foot drop is often diagnosed during a physical examination. Your GP will look at the way you walk and examine your leg muscles.
In some cases, imaging tests, such as an X-ray, ultrasound scan or CT scan, may be required.
Nerve conduction tests may be recommended to help locate where the affected nerve is damaged.
Electromyography, where electrodes are inserted into the muscle fibres to record their electrical activity, may also be carried out at the same time.
Surgery may be an option in severe or long-term cases of foot drop that have caused permanent movement loss from muscle paralysis.
The procedure usually involves transferring a tendon from the stronger leg muscles to the muscle that should be pulling your ankle upwards.
Another type of surgery involves fusing the foot or ankle bones to help stabilise the ankle.
Speak to your GP or orthopaedic foot and ankle specialist if you’re thinking about having surgery for foot drop.
They’ll be able to give you more information about the available procedures and any associated pros and cons.
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