posted on April 01, 2010 13:02
The foot drop definition, also known as drop foot, is when a person has much difficulty trying to lift the front area of the foot. Many people with this disorder drag their foot when they walk. It isn't a disease, it is a result of some kind of muscular, anatomical, or neurological problem. Foot drop can be something that only lasts for a short time, or can last longer, depending on its causes and treatment.
Some of the common symptoms of drop foot are:
- Loss of feeling, or tingling in your foot
- Using a steppage gait, or raising up your thigh as you walk
- Walking with one foot dragging the ground
- Your foot slamming down to the floor when you take a step
- You might have a hard time trying to lift the front area of your foot.
Usually, a foot drop definition only applies to one foot, but it is possible to have the affliction in both feet.
There can be several causes for foot drop, like:
- Nerve or muscle damage- Foot drop can be a result of damage to the muscles that work the toes and ankles. This can be caused by neuropathy from diabetes, or injury to the spinal nerves. This can also happen after knee of hip replacement surgery.
- Nerve or muscles disorders- This can be muscular dystrophy, or compartment syndrome, which causes nerves in the body to become closed in.
- Central nervous system problems- Some diseases that harm the brain or spinal cord, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, stroke, or multiple sclerosis, can also result in a foot drop definition.
There are different treatments for foot drop, depending on what is causing it. If the cause for the problem is treated with success, many times the foot drop will go away on its own. However, if the cause cannot be treated, it may be permanent.
Some of the treatments for people with foot drop are:
- Splints or braces- Your foot can be placed in the proper position by putting on an ankle brace or a splint that fits inside your shoe.
- Nerve stimulation- Using stimulation on the peroneal nerve often helps with foot drop, particularly if it was first a result of a stroke. Sometimes, an electrical stimulator that runs on batteries is attached to the leg right below the knee joint. It can also be implanted into the leg as well.
- When it is discovered that foot drop isn't temporary, surgery might have to be performed that either fuses foot and anklebones together, or using an exchange of tendons to leg muscles that have more strength. This is often done to help with the difficulty of walking.
If a foot drop definition is suspected, sometimes certain tests will be done to confirm the diagnosis. An MRI might need to be done, or an EMG, as well as nerve conductivity tests. Nerve tests are used to determine how much electrical activity is present in certain nerves and muscles.
Although foot drop can be very frustrating and make getting around hard, there are treatments and solutions to most of the underlying causes of foot drop in people.
One of these is the Finetech Medical STIMuSTEP system. The system delivers small electrical pulses to the nerves that supply the paralysed muscles. This allows independent control of dorsiflextion (lifting the foot) and eversion (rotate ankle to the correct position), which correcting the abnormal movement of the affected foot during the swing phase of gait.