Have you noticed that you tend to catch your toe on occasion while walking? This can be the start of foot drop, a condition caused by weakness in the muscles of the lower leg. It may start off slow where the toe catch occurs only after fatigue or prolonged walking. It can progress to you being unable to lift your foot throughout the gait cycle.
Foot drop is a contributing factor to the risk of falls and is therefore important to address as soon as possible. There is a greater risk of falls when walking on area rugs, uneven surfaces (such as grass), and uneven pavements. Foot drop also contributes to increased energy expenditure with walking.
The goal of foot drop management is to support the foot without over-bracing. If the leg is fully supported with a brace, secondary weakness develops due to muscle inactivity. Speak with your physical therapist and/or orthotist to determine which option is best for you.
Below are some of the possibilities. They are listed from minimal to maximal support. Your therapist and orthotist try to find the brace that offers the least constraint while offering optimal control of the foot, ankle, and knee throughout the gait cycle which is dependent our your symptoms.
1) Functional Electrical Stimulation Foot Orthosis
2) Dorsiflexion strap –
Foot-up without a shoe
Foot-up with a shoe http://www.pattersonmedical.com/app.aspx?cmd=getProduct&key=IF_921015567
Freedom Adjustable Foot Drop Brace http://www.pattersonmedical.com/app.aspx?cmd=getProduct&key=IF_88283
3) AFOs (Ankle Foot Orthoses) – these braces range from light to maximal support and can be made from metal and plastic. They can be issued off-the-shelf or customized to your foot.
Posterior Leaf Spring
A bit about Julie...Julie Hom, MPT, NCS is a physical therapist specializing in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis and balance and fall prevention. She is a Neurologic Certified Specialist (NCS) through the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) which is a certification confirming higher skills and knowledge with respect to neurological disorders. Click here to read more about Julie...http://www.healthcarejourney.com/read-about-our-virtual-ms-center-staff.html
Note: the information that is being provided is for "Advice Only" for individuals in California.