Foot drop is a type of gait abnormality that can make it hard for you to walk. Here are three things you need to know about this foot problem.
What are the symptoms of foot drop?
If you have foot drop, you'll find it hard to lift the front of your foot. Usually, only one foot is affected, but both of your feet can experience foot drop. When you walk, your toes and the ball of your foot may drag on the ground. People with this condition need to adopt a different style of walking to avoid dragging their feet; they need to lift their thighs higher to keep their toes off the floor. This condition can also make you stomp your feet because of the unnatural gait you need to adopt.
What causes foot drop?
Many different conditions can cause foot drop. Conditions that affect the nerves, muscles, or tendons in your feet can lead to this condition. Here are a few possible causes of the condition.
- Trauma such as injury to the tendons;
- Compartment syndrome;
- Charcot foot;
- Neurological problems like peripheral neuropathy;
- Behaviors such as crossing your legs frequently;
- Muscular disorders such as muscular dystrophy or Charcot foot.
Can podiatrists treat foot drop?
Both non-surgical and surgical treatments are available for foot drop. Your podiatrist may give you an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) to brace your foot in place. AFO's are orthotics that support your entire ankle as well as some or all of your foot. These devices can help to hold your foot in the proper position while you walk and prevent your toes from dragging on the floor. Like other types of orthotics, they are designed to be used with your shoes.
If bracing doesn't work, or if your podiatrist doesn't think you're a good candidate for it, other treatments are available. Medications such as oral antidepressants have been used to treat this condition. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, either in oral or topical form, can also be used.
Surgical treatments are also available, if all else fails. Surgery may involve repairing damaged tendons in the foot, lengthening the tendons, or performing nerve grafting, depending on the cause of your condition. Your podiatrist will let you know which type of surgery you need and will explain the procedure.
If your toes drag on the floor when you walk, see a podiatrist right away. You may have foot drop, a treatable condition. For more information, contact Collier Podiatry PA or a similar location.