Foot drop, sometimes called drop foot, is a general term for difficulty lifting (doctors call this dorsiflexing) the foot. If you have foot drop, you may catch your toes on the ground or drag the front of your foot along the ground when you swing your leg forward while walking. You may also tend to lift the affected leg higher during the forward swing phase of walking to compensate for the foot drop; doctors call this a steppage gait. When the foot comes down it may create a noise from slapping on the ground.
Foot drop isn't a disease. Rather, foot drop is a sign of an underlying neurological, muscular or anatomical problem (such as multiple sclerosis). Sometimes foot drop is temporary. In other cases, foot drop is permanent.
Foot drop may affect one or both feet depending on the cause. If your toes drag the floor when you walk, consult your doctor.
Source: Mayo Clinic
Treatment for managing foot drop in MS include:
- ankle-foot orthotic
- leg braces
- physical therapy
- functional electric stimulation device systems
Physical therapy is used to help strengthen foot and leg muscles. It may improve a person's ability to walk. In some cases, electronic devices that stimulate the leg nerves during walking may be appropriate.
Click on this link for a good overview of Functional Electrical Stimulation http://www.nationalmssociety.org/NationalMSSociety/media/MSNationalFiles/Brochures/Brochure-How-to-Choose-the-Mobility-Device-that-is-Right-for-You.pdf
Surgery is rarely done in MS patients. This may rarely be considered to help repair a damaged peripheral nerve (peroneal nerve) causing a foot drop or to alleviate a severe achilles tendon contracture (shortening of the tendon).
Click on the icon for a great blog by a leading physical therapist who specializes in MS about foot drop and what you can do about it.
PLEASE NOTE: The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.