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If you suffer from foot drop, don’t hesitate to Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists.

What is Foot Drop?

Patients who suffer from Foot drop, also known as drop foot, generally have difficulty lifting the front part of the foot. The front of the foot may unintentionally drag on the ground when patients walk.

Neurologists classify this conidtion as a sign or side effect of an underlying neurological, muscular or anatomical problem, rather than a disease in it’s own right. 

Sometimes this condition lasts only a short time, but some cases can result in a permanent deficit. Patients with this condition may need to wear a brace on the ankle and foot to hold the foot in a normal position.

Drop foot is a condition that occurs when the muscles (too weak lift the foot) present a difficulty lifting the foot and toes when walking. The treatment for drop foot depends on the underlying cause of the condition. If the drop foot is due to a nerve injury or compression, surgery may come highly recommended to repair the nerve or remove the compression. In some cases, physical therapy and exercises to strengthen the muscles in the foot and leg may come highly recommended.

Orthotics, such as braces or splints, may also also come highly to provide support and improve foot and ankle function. In cases where conservative measures do not provide adequate relief, functional electrical stimulation (FES) represents another highly recommended option. FES involves using electrical impulses to stimulate the nerves and muscles that control foot and ankle movement. It remains important to consult with a doctor or physical therapist to determine the best course of treatment for your specific condition and to discuss the potential risks and benefits of each treatment option. With proper treatment, many individuals with drop foot can improve their walking ability and quality of life.

Foot Drop Procedure

The treatment for foot drop often involves surgical procedures aimed at correcting the underlying cause and restoring normal function to the affected foot and ankle. Surgeons may perform nerve decompression to relieve pressure on the affected nerves, such as the peroneal nerve, which controls muscle movement in the lower leg and foot.

In cases where nerve damage is severe, nerve grafting or nerve transfer procedures may be necessary to repair or replace damaged nerves with healthy donor nerves from elsewhere in the body. These procedures aim to improve muscle control and restore the ability to lift the foot properly.

Alternatively, tendon transfer surgeries involve rerouting tendons from stronger muscles to replace the function of weaker or paralyzed muscles responsible for dorsiflexion (lifting the foot upward). This helps compensate for muscle weakness and allows for more controlled movement of the foot during walking.

Post-operative rehabilitation, including physical therapy and the use of orthotic devices, plays a crucial role in optimizing recovery and restoring mobility in patients undergoing foot drop procedures.

Foot Drop Procedure Benefits

Foot drop procedures offer significant benefits for individuals affected by this condition:

  1. Improved Mobility: By addressing the underlying cause, such as nerve damage or muscle weakness, these procedures aim to restore the ability to lift the front part of the foot and maintain a more natural gait while walking.

  2. Enhanced Stability: Surgical interventions, such as nerve decompression, nerve grafting, or tendon transfers, can improve muscle strength and coordination, reducing the risk of tripping and falls associated with foot drop.

  3. Functional Improvement: Restoring dorsiflexion (lifting the foot upwards) helps regain the ability to perform daily activities more effectively, such as climbing stairs, walking on uneven surfaces, and standing from a seated position.

  4. Pain Reduction: Addressing the underlying nerve compression or muscle dysfunction often alleviates associated pain and discomfort, improving overall comfort and quality of life.

  5. Long-Term Outcomes: With appropriate post-operative rehabilitation, patients can achieve lasting improvements in foot function and mobility, facilitating a more active and independent lifestyle.

These benefits underscore the importance of timely diagnosis and treatment in managing foot drop effectively.

Foot Drop Recovery

After foot drop surgery, recovery involves several stages aimed at maximizing functional improvement and restoring mobility. Initially, patients typically undergo a period of immobilization to protect the surgical site and promote healing. This may involve wearing a splint, brace, or cast to support the foot and ankle.

Physical therapy plays a crucial role in rehabilitation, starting with gentle exercises to improve range of motion and strengthen muscles around the ankle and foot. As healing progresses, therapy advances to include activities aimed at improving balance, coordination, and gait.

Patients are encouraged to gradually increase weight-bearing activities and practice walking with appropriate assistive devices as needed. Therapists may also incorporate stretching exercises to prevent stiffness and promote flexibility in the affected muscles and tendons.

Throughout the recovery process, regular follow-up visits with healthcare providers are essential to monitor progress, address any complications, and adjust the rehabilitation plan as needed. Compliance with post-operative care instructions and therapy sessions is crucial for achieving optimal recovery and restoring normal foot function.

If you would like to speak to one of our texas orthopedic specialists, give us a call at 817-697-4038, or contact us over the web. Tele-medicine appointments are also available.