Imagine if you have to deal with a condition that is disabling you from walking? Walking is the one thing that it seems as we do not appreciate enough until we experience a certain problem that keeps us away from doing it.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of health problems and conditions that can keep you on the bed and unable to walk a greater distance than the one between your living room and toilet without any help.
And one of them is a condition that we are going to talk about today. Have you heard about Drop’s foot, or also known as, Foot drop before?
Chances are that you are unfamiliar with this condition until now, just because this is not one of those conditions that draw a lot of attention to itself.
So what we decided to do is dedicate a whole article on the topic of Drop foot, explaining the causes, symptoms, popular treatment options and of course, how to prevent it.
What is Drop foot?
Drop foot, also known as Foot drop is a medical condition in which the patient experiences inability to lift the front part of the foot.
This causes a need to drag the toes on the ground while walking. In order to avoid this, these patients often lift the knee on the affected side a bit higher than normal or even swing their affected leg in a wider arc.
Foot drop can affect one or both feet at the time and can affect any patient at any age. Foot drop is more often described as a symptom, not a single disorder.
It can be either temporary or permanent depending on the causes. But what causes Drop foot?
What are the Causes of Drop Foot?
Basically, Drop foot happens due to a paralysis or weakness of the leg muscles which are responsible for lifting the front part of the leg while walking in order to avoid the need to drag the toes on the group and avoid falls.
This paralysis or weakness can be caused by a number of causes. Some of the most common Drop foot causes include – nerve injury, brain or spinal disorder , and muscle disorder.
Now let’s look into these causes a bit closer. Drop foot is most commonly caused due to a nerve injury or more specifically due to an injury to the peroneal nerve which is responsible for contracting the dorsiflexor – the muscles that lift the front part of the foot.
This is a nerve that is quite close to the skin which is why it can be very easily damaged. Childbirth, hip or knee operation, diabetes, and sports injuries are just some of the most common causes that lead to nerve injury.
Referring to the brain and spinal disorders that may lead to Drop foot, we can mention stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, and cerebral palsy that most often contribute to the development of Drop foot. And last but not least – muscular disorders such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and polio are the most common ones that can cause the muscles on the legs to progressively weaken or deteriorate and evidently lead to the development of Foot drop.
What are the Signs of Foot Drop ?
As you can probably guess until know, the inability to raise the front part of your foot or feet, if both of them are affected by this condition, is the main sign.
Remember that we already mentioned that we are talking about a symptom here, not a singular condition or a disorder which is why now, we are going to talk about the signs of characteristics of Drop foot instead of the symptoms.
You may as well experience leg or foot pain, or even experience some neurological symptoms such as tingling and/or burning.
Drop foot may be accompanied by loss/lack of balance which will only add to the already existing walking problem that you are experiencing at the moment due to the Drop foot itself. Now let’s talk about the Drop foot treatment!
How to Treat Drop Foot?
There are various treatment options that you can discuss of with your doctor and choose the most proper one according to your condition.
A lot of factors have a role in this decision-making process such as the cause, the present symptoms, your age etc.
In cases like this one where it is more of a symptom that occurs due to an underlying cause, the treatment aims to remove the cause and with that indirectly treating the condition itself.
Some of the most popular Drop foot treatment options include – physical therapy , which is supposed to strengthen your leg muscles and exercise the muscles associated with the foot drop as well as stretching exercises which are essential in cases like this.
Apart from physical therapy, nerve stimulation of the nerve that is responsible for lifting the front part of the foot, and use of braces or splints might be also useful. And in most serious cases, there is the option for surgery.
How do you Prevent Drop Foot?
One thing that you can do to prevent Drop foot is to avoid sitting with your legs crossed since this is considered to be a risk factor for developing this condition.
Another thing is to make sure that you are doing your stretching and strengthening exercises for the leg muscles when you are on a bed rest for any kind of reason such as after an operation, after a leg fracture etc.
Another thing to do when you are on a bed rest is using special foot positioners, stabilizers and elevators that will keep your leg positioned in a physiological position that will help prevent not only Drop foot, but also muscle contracture which is a very serious problem that you should look out for.
Considered more as a symptom, rather than a certain disorder or a disease, Drop foot also known as Foot drop is a serious enough problem that you should watch out for especially if you are on a bed rest for a long time.
And that is exactly why we wanted to draw so much attention to this problem talking about the common causes, signs, treatment options and of course, the ways that you can use to prevent it!
What we learned is that it can be caused by a brain or spinal disorders, nerve injury or a muscular disorder.
It can affect one or both feet. And can be either temporary or permanent, depending on the cause that is.
It surely increases the risk of falls and injuries and that is why it is very important for all patients and health professionals to work to prevent it.
Its treatment, once again, depends on what has caused it in the first place and so, by addressing the cause itself, this symptom should go away.
Except in the cases where we are talking about a more permanent condition.
But even then, the good news is that there is a range of orthopedics that is supposed to help you gain more control over your foot or feet and prevent any injuries or falls from happening.
So, the question is – have you experienced any difficulties in raising the front part of the foot/feet? Have you also experienced tingling and burning in the legs?
If so, it is time to call the doctor and address this issue the way that you should. Another way to deal with this pain is the use of gel on the affected area.
Go through Pain Block Review, which is designed to prevent tingling in the legs.