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What is drop foot?

Foot Up LifestyleDrop foot refers to a weakening of the muscles which compromises the ability to flex the ankle and toes which can lead to the front of the foot dragging when walking and increase the risk of trips and falls.

The condition typically results from damage or injury to the brain, spinal cord or nerves within the leg. The more common causes include:

  • Myositis
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy
  • Stroke
  • Nerve damage in the knee

Recovery is dependent on the origin of the condition, with physiotherapy helping to return some degree of functionality for injury based origins whilst the chances of recovery from neurological causes are lower.

Problems associated with drop foot

The main risk for drop foot sufferers is the risk of falling and causing more serious injury. Following a trip or fall there is a risk of sprains, broken bones, cuts, bruises and even head injuries depending on the nature of the fall and the extent of the injuries sustained.

The biggest fear for many sufferers is in reduced independence and the inability to carry out simple tasks on their own, both inside their own home and out.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy works to rebuild strength in the affected foot in order for the patient to regain some form of control when mobile. A tailored programme will be offered by your physiotherapist to assess the potential benefits and the level of control which could be returned to the foot.

Ankle Foot Orthosis

A simple search for a foot support in Google will offer a variety of products, all designed to minimise the risk of the foot dragging for the patient.

A product like the Foot-Up works by connecting the ankle and foot and thereby preventing the foot from dropping below a 90 degree ankle, a simple yet very effective solution.

Other products like the Prolite AFO are effectively an 'L' shaped plastic insert which sits behind the calf and underneath the foot to again prevent the foot from dropping.

We are all different and so are the foot support options available, therefore you should look to find one which is best for you and offers the greatest set of benefits.