Foot drop, also known as dropped foot or drop foot, is the inability to raise the front part of the foot due to weakness or paralysis of the muscles that lift the foot (National Institute of Neurological Disorders).
Consequentially, people who have foot drop scuff their toes along the ground; they may also bend their knees to lift their foot higher than usual to avoid the scuffing, which causes what is called a "steppage" gait.
Luckily, there are some solutions available to help you manage foot drop depending on the level of your condition. In some instances, foot drop may require surgery. For those whose foot drop is less severe, an AFO and/or leg brace could be a viable solution.
Most commonly, foot drop is caused by an injury to the peroneal nerve. The peroneal nerve is a branch of the sciatic nerve that wraps from the back of the knee to the front of the shin. Because it sits very close to the surface, it may be damaged easily.
Conditions that cause the muscles to progressively weaken or deteriorate may cause foot drop. Disorders may include muscular dystrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Neurological conditions can contribute to foot drop. Conditions may include stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
Recovery depends on the cause of foot drop and how long you’ve had it. In some cases it can be permanent. There are steps you can take to help support your foot and improve walking ability.
Foot Drop Treatment Options Include: