Foot drop is basically a problem wherein people face difficulty while lifting their leg/toe while walking. Here, we mean normal lifting; lifting the foot upward while taking a step. This is restrained due to the paralysis of muscles in that particular area of the foot. What causes this kind of paralysis? Surely, not everyone meets with an accident.
Symptoms usually start showing slowly and thus, it is important that we know the causes for better diagnosis. To understand these causes better, we will divide them into three main categories: muscle damage, anatomical or skeletal abnormalities that affect the foot, and damage of the nerves.
Causes can be divided into two types: unilateral (affecting only one foot) and bilateral (affecting both feet).
Lower Back Problems
Lower back problems that affect the functioning of certain foot muscles and might lead to foot drop are lumbar herniated disc, bone lacerations, fractures, spondylolisthesis, and spinal stenosis. A herniated disc is considered as one of the most common foot drop causes. These problems affect the nerve by applying too much pressure, and then gradually affect the peroneal nerve, which is important in lifting the foot.
A person suffering from this disease has higher chances of experiencing slowness in movements and rigidity of muscles. However, these need to be diagnosed properly by your physician. These problems are most obvious in the affected limb and it is said that people might find it difficult to climb downstairs and trip often. The brain finds it difficult to send proper signals to the muscles.
Also called encephalomyelitis disseminata or disseminated sclerosis, multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease that is said to have no guaranteed cure. This generally affects young adults and mostly females. In MS, the nervous system or moreover the brain and spinal cord nerve cells, become incapable of communicating with each other. We previously saw how pressure on one nerve can affect the other. This too, is said to be one of the leading causes of foot drop.
In the nervous system, nerve cells called motor neurons carry signals from the brain to the different parts of the body, related to their functioning. Though the exact cause is unknown, it is said that motor neuron disease kills these motor neuron nerve cells. This in turn leads to fatigue, weakness, and improper or no functioning of certain muscles.
Injury or trauma due to some kind of accident may lead to the paralysis of the foot muscles. In this case, injury to not only the muscles, but also to the bones might lead to an abnormal gait and abnormal functioning of the foot muscles. However, this can be diagnosed immediately after the accident.
Central nervous system and its effects on foot drop are very rare but they still exist. There have been cases where people suffering from brain tumors have also said to suffer from a foot drop. This type of diagnosis takes a detailed examination of the problem by the doctor/physician. If you are experiencing any symptoms, it is necessary you opt for consultation.
Diabetic Neuropathies are a group of nerve disorders or diseases that are caused by diabetes and lead to various other diseases, out of which one is foot drop. This is a cause that needs to be diagnosed properly. Whether diabetes is the cause or something else, will prove to be important during the treatment.
Two of the most common foot drop causes―drug addiction and alcoholism―are said to have adverse reactions on the functioning of the body. We all know that drugs and alcohol can affect a persons body and functioning of the nervous system. Overdose of particular drugs or ample consumption of alcohol harms and disturbs/curbs the proper functioning of the nerve cells present in our body. The ability of the nervous system and the brain to communicate effectively becomes nonexistent.
Most of these causes are mostly detected only after a visit to the doctor. If you are having problems with lifting your foot while walking, it is advisable to get it checked soon.