Auteur: Podiatre Montreal
Foot Drop Treatment
Foot drop is not a pathology in its own right; it is in fact a symptom of another condition that causes difficulty in bending the foot. Foot drop can have various causes resulting in a loss of dorsal flexion of the foot. The foot drop syndrome requires an adapted treatment in order to avoid the complications it can cause. If you suffer from foot drop: what should you do? The most obvious solution is to consult a specialist who will be able to diagnose this condition and propose the most appropriate treatment, which may consist of various exercises, but also an orthosis specially designed for the foot drop.
What is a Foot Drop?
Foot drop is caused by a neurological pathology such as multiple sclerosis or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but can also result from partial paralysis, stroke or head trauma. Foot drop is therefore very often the result of a nerve problem and more precisely of an injury to the central nervous system. Thus, foot drop, also called foot stepping, is generally due to a neurological problem of which it is a symptom.
The foot drop syndrome will be expressed through a multitude of varied symptoms linked to a disorder at the level of the mobilization of the foot and toe lifting muscles, the latter remaining systematically oriented downwards. Thus, the foot drop syndrome can manifest itself by difficulties in plantar flexion, by a bilateral hollow foot, or the dorsal flexion of the foot may become impossible. In addition, the patient may also develop walking on the toes of neurological origin. Muscular dystrophy is one of the symptoms of foot stepping and can eventually lead to much more serious consequences. Indeed, the foot drop will often cause the patient to compensate for his gait, which can lead to an injury to the sciatic nerve.
Consequences and problems of foot drop
It is important to do what is necessary to heal the foot drop, because this foot disease can be slightly disturbing at first, but it can have much more disabling consequences. Foot stepping will indeed limit the flexion of the foot first of all, make walking difficult and increase the risk of falls.
If left untreated, foot drop syndrome can lead to a complete loss of dorsal flexion of the foot to begin with. Then, foot drop can lead to paralysis of the sciatic nerve with the pain that this can cause. Eventually, foot drop can even contribute to the development of a herniated disc. It is therefore more than necessary to consult the competent health professionals when flexing difficulties begin to appear, not only to regain full mobility, but also to avoid the various complications that it can eventually cause and especially to diagnose the neurological problem at the origin of these symptoms. Foot drop can indeed be a sign of multiple sclerosis that must be diagnosed or of another equally serious neurological disease such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that must be managed as soon as possible.
How to heal a foot drop
As previously mentioned, foot drop or stepping of the foot must be properly taken care of in order to allow the foot to regain mobility and prevent gait from being impeded. Indeed, the loss of dorsal flexion of the foot caused by the foot drop syndrome will result in the foot dragging on the ground or hitting it regularly. Eventually, this condition can have more serious consequences such as a herniated disc or paralysis of the sciatic nerve. Before reaching this complication, it is preferable to consult a specialist such as the Podiatrist. He will be able to study the flexion of the foot as well as the state of the foot’s lift muscle before being able to make a diagnosis and establish an adapted treatment to cure the foot drop. To this end, he may suggest foot drop exercises to the patient to try to restore the foot’s flexion.
Indeed, foot drop exercises can be very effective in treating foot drop and can improve the flexibility of the joint while improving gait. Nevertheless, it is possible that these exercises are not sufficient and that the Podiatrist offers specific equipment to treat this condition. The orthosis will be proposed depending not only on the severity of the affection, but also on the Patient and his size, as this will also have an impact on the treatment of the foot drop. For example, a podiatrist like our doctor may prescribe a tibial orthosis or a medical leg brace that will support the entire leg to relieve the sciatic nerve, among other things. Other orthotics to treat the foot drop can also be proposed such as a foot brace. There are several types of foot splints depending on the objective sought. For example, the short, fixed hinge orthosis holds the foot at a 90° angle and thus reduces the effects of foot drop. However, this type of orthosis is generally less effective for tall people. The short spring hinge orthosis will facilitate the dorsal flexion of the foot and thus contribute to the healing of the foot drop.
For patients with severe foot drop, it is possible to opt for an orthosis that prevents plantar flexion. There are many other possible orthoses and splints, but only the Podiatrist will be able to tell you what to do in case of foot drop and advise you on the most suitable orthoses, but also on the best conditions to wear them as efficiently and comfortably as possible. So, if you suffer from symptoms similar to those of a foot drop, don’t hesitate any longer and contact us today to make an appointment at our clinic in Montreal.2021