Foot drop, sometimes called drop foot, is a general term for difficulty lifting the front part of the foot. If you have foot drop, you may drag the front of your foot on the ground when you walk.
Foot drop isn't a disease. Rather, foot drop is a sign of an underlying neurological, muscular or anatomical problem.
Sometimes foot drop is temporary. In other cases, foot drop is permanent. If you have foot drop, you may need to wear a brace on your ankle and foot to hold your foot in a normal position.
Causes of Foot Drop Include:
- nerve injury
- brain or spinal disorders
- muscle disorders
How do doctors treat Foot Drop?
Treatment for foot drop will depend on the cause. Early treatment may improve chances of recovery.
Treatments may include:
- Braces or splints. A brace on your ankle and foot or splint that fits into your shoe can help hold your foot in a normal position.
- Physical therapy. Exercises that strengthen your leg muscles and help you maintain the range of motion in your knee and ankle may improve gait problems associated with foot drop. Stretching exercises are particularly important to prevent the development of stiffness in the heel.
- Nerve stimulation. Sometimes stimulating the nerve that lifts the foot improves foot drop.
- Surgery. Depending upon the cause, and if your foot drop is relatively new, nerve surgery may be helpful. If foot drop is long-standing, your doctor may suggest surgery that fuses ankle or foot bones or a procedure that transfers a functioning tendon to a different position.