What Causes Foot Drop And Treatments A Podiatrist Might Use To Help The Condition

Foot drop is a condition where you are unable to lift the front part of your foot when you walk. It can affect one or both feet, and the condition can make it difficult for you to stay mobile. Foot drop can be mild or severe, and it sometimes is caused by an injury that may heal on its own. However, it's good to see a podiatrist for proper care. Here are some causes of foot drop and treatments that your podiatrist might recommend.

Causes Of Foot Drop

A number of conditions and injuries can cause foot drop. The condition is usually neurological, muscular, or related to a nerve injury. A medical condition such as diabetes, spinal cord injury, or stroke can lead to foot drop. A pinched peroneal nerve might be to blame, as this nerve is responsible for triggering your muscles to lift the front of your foot. If you have a habit of sitting with your legs crossed all of the time, you could pinch the peroneal nerve and cause foot drop.

Treatments Your Podiatrist Might Try

If your foot drop is caused by an injury, the problem might heal after several weeks. During that time, your podiatrist might want you to wear a brace that keeps your upper foot lifted so you don't drag it when you walk.

Physical therapy exercises, stretches, and walking education might help also. The exercises and stretches might help your foot heal, and the walking rehab can teach you how to walk safely by lifting your foot properly rather than dragging it and causing yourself to trip.

Surgery on your foot might be needed if other treatments don't help your foot drop get better or heal. Your podiatrist might do surgery to release a pinched nerve or they might do a peroneal nerve graft. If your podiatrist thinks a nerve graft isn't the solution, they might perform surgery that fuses your ankle and foot so your foot always stays level and doesn't drop and interfere with your walking. A tendon transfer might also be considered, with the goal to make your gait steady and improve your ability to walk safely.

Your podiatrist or an occupational therapist may also teach you how to be safe at home, and help you know changes you may need to make so you're safer walking in your house. This may include getting rid of trip hazards on your floor, improving illumination, and learning how to use mobility aids you may need to help you walk around the house or move from your bed to a chair. Since it's much easier to trip and fall when you have foot drop, you'll want your home to be a safe haven so you can stay mobile while lowering your risk of tripping.