Drop foot

Drop foot, also called foot drop, describes the inability to raise the front of the foot due to weakness or paralysis of the muscles that lift the foot. As a result, individuals with foot drop drag their toes along the ground or raise their thighs higher than usual when walking to make sure that the foot does not drag across the floor (steppage gait). Foot drop typically affects one foot although it is possible for both feet to be affected.


Causes

Foot drop is frequently caused by neurological disorders, such as a stroke or multiple sclerosis. Neuromuscular clinical pictures and intervertebral disc prolapses can also result in drop foot.

Ottobock offers a broad selection of orthoses which reactivate dorsiflexion, or the lifting of the foot, and enable a more physiological gait pattern. The risk of stumbling and falling is significantly reduced as a result.

Furthermore, non-physiological compensating movements, such as circular motion of the leg or lifting of the pelvis on one side of the body, can be prevented.

The clinical pictures and forms of drop foot can vary greatly. Our response to this is a range of orthoses which can be used to treat individual needs. Please contact us or speak to your doctor, therapist or O&P professional about which of our orthoses is most suitable for your situation.

Foot drop is typically associated with the following disorders:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Poliomyelitis (polio)
  • Some forms of spinal muscular atrophy
  • Some forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
  • Acquired peripheral neuropathy
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Myositis

Foot drop can also be caused by local compression or damage to the peroneal nerve as it passes across the fibular bone below the knee.

Treatment

Treatment options

The initial treatment for drop foot is usually physiotherapy. This includes exercises and, gait training. However, if full function does not return, a splint that fits in your shoe, known as an Ankle-Foot Orthosis (AFO) may be provided. Other treatment options include medication (Baclofen or Botulinum) or surgery.

Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)

(FES) uses small electrical currents to stimulate the nerves that connect to the paralysed muscles.This causes the muscles to contract. FES can be used to stimulate nerves in the arms, legs, trunk and buttocks in order to achieve a range of functional movements.

Management

Orthotic management

The products below are designed to help improve the mobility of individuals with drop foot. Whether a product is suitable for you and whether you are capable of exploiting its full functionality depends on many different factors. Your physical condition, fitness, and a detailed medical examination are all factors. Your doctor or orthotist will decide which product would be the most suitable for your condition. If you require help to find a professional clinical orthotists, please contact us.



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