Foot Drop Braces

Sujata Iyer May 4, 2019
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A foot drop brace can make walking much easier for people with foot drop. Learn more about the types of braces that can be worn for this purpose.
Foot drop is a muscular disorder in which the patient finds it difficult to walk straight because he cannot move his ankles and toes upward. A foot drop brace is used to help the patients maintain a better posture while walking and to make walking more comfortable. Here, we will see the different types of braces that can used to help with this disorder. 

WHAT IS FOOT DROP

Foot drop is one of the foot problems associated with the inability to move the foot upwards from the ankle. Patients suffering from it adopt a 'steppage gait' in which they lift the thigh high in an attempt to avoid the toes from dragging on the ground. Some patients may also drag their feet along as they walk.

Soft Foot Drop Brace

This type of brace is supposed to be the most comfortable one. It is made from very thin neoprene. Unlike other braces, this type uses an elastic strap to maintain the position of the foot. The best part about this brace is that you can wear it even when you are bare feet.
It doesn't require any special footwear to be worn. You can wear it even under socks or under strapped sandals too. This makes it quite popular with people.

Short Leg Fixed Braces

This is a type of brace that fits into the shoes of the person easily. It helps him to walk easily because the foot is maintained at a 90º angle to the leg. This makes the person walk straight. However, this foot brace is fixed with a hinge.
Hence, it does not allow dorsiflexion (movement to decrease the angle between the foot and leg while walking) and thus keeps the gait very stiff. It is not very comfortable for people, especially those who are more than 6 feet tall.

Energy Return Brace

This brace does not have a heel. This makes it more comfortable for the person to wear. It is made of flexible materials like carbon graphite. It is lightweight and has a vertical support running across the back of the brace to ensure full support to the leg. It is also one of the most affordable braces in the market.

Dorsiflexion Assist Brace

Dorsiflexion is the movement in which the angle between the foot and leg is reduced. Simply, it means the upward pointing movement of the foot. As the name suggests, dorsiflexion assist brace assists in effortless dorsiflexion. Its unique feature is a spring like hinge which lifts the foot off the ground easily. It gives a more natural walk to the person.

CAUSES OF FOOT DROP

  • Generally, foot drop is caused due to nerve disorders.
  • This results in muscle weakness and hence the person is not able to walk normally.
  • It can also be caused due to injuries which resulted in spinal cord damage or damage to the central nervous system.

Posterior Leaf Brace

This type of brace is more suited to people who have knee pain which is caused by the foot drop. It is lightweight and can easily fit into normal running shoes. In case it doesn't fit, it can be trimmed or reshaped to fit. It gives stability and a comfortable stance to the person.

Solid Ankle Brace

This foot brace is bulkier than other types. It is more useful for paraplegic people who have undergone surgery. It keeps the foot at a 90º angle to the leg, helps to keep the foot from dropping again and strengthens the leg which helps to facilitate dorsiflexion in people who have an unstable knee. It also gives considerable amount of control while walking.
These were some types of braces for foot drop which are the best solutions for the condition. Other options involve surgery, exercises, and physiotherapy. Before using a brace, make sure you are comfortable wearing it or it can lead to other severe problems.